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About getting better or giving more?

October 2, 2008

So what is the Christian life about? Getting better or giving more? Is it both? Which is more important? If getting better is it how can we be better if we still live in a broken world? Is seeking to get better so that we can give more a losing proposition because we will always find some area that we need to improve in?

I ask these questions because your answer will impact your actions a great deal. What if giving more of you is the answer to getting better? What if losing you in others lives is the key?

I have been struggling with this question for some time now. As a pastor who preaches who wants to be true to God’s intentions I have to weigh my expectations. What if my ideas are wrong? It will impact what I say and teach.

Tell me your thoughts. Are they mutually exclusive because I don’t think so, I just wonder if we have them backwards.

Paul says in Philippians 2:4 that “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Before that he tells them, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than you.” What would it mean to consider others more important than you? Would that lead us to give more of ourselves or would that cause us to focus on self?

In the end Paul uses Jesus as the example for us. He recounts the sacrifices made by Christ to be our Savior and calls us to copy them (Phil. 2:3-11). Did Jesus really sit around trying to get better or did he give and give more?

That idea will impact our Christian walk. We will either seek to get better through Christ always focused on self or we will give to others finding that in this we discover our true self.

Thoughts?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2008 6:31 pm

    One of the interesting things I’ve been hearing is the number of churches that are having issues financially as the economy slows. Imagine a body of Christ followers gathering together and giving freely when economic times are good, but when they aren’t so good, the giving stops or slows down for many. How does that make sense? From a selfish perspective, when times are tough we must protect ourselves first. Where is the faith in that? Sure, I get a kind of common sense perspective here, but what if God was challenging us to make sacrifices so that others could come to know the love of Christ and be eternally saved by his grace?

    From a leadership perspective I think we must seek to grow God’s people in discipleship, but at the same time we must not make the church about our needs and desires. Jesus came to serve, not be served. We are the body of Christ, each part significant to the whole, engaged in helping to build others up. It kills me when I hear people say that they are moving to another church because they aren’t being spiritually fed! We must rely on our own hearts and minds to be edified in God’s Word and to pray on our own. We should appreciate that the living God has a relationship with us that allows us to call upon him in the name of Jesus and that he will always provide for us and love us unconditionally. We shouldn’t live our lives in the world and come out on Sundays to be the focus of attention and requiring our needs to be met. We should come to honor and worship the Lord and to seek opportunities to be in-service to others. Whether it be prayer, encouragement, a warm smile, whatever.

    As we give and serve we grow. When we focus more on growing in maturity we tend to lose focus on serving others and look inwardly at what *we* can do individually to stay focused on God, when in reality, if we look to others before ourselves God will grow us at his own pace and allow us to be used to share his love with others and we may in-turn become the mentor and discipler when we thought it was us that needed to be discipled first.

  2. October 6, 2008 3:10 pm

    Love those words. Thanks much for coming by. Great addition to my thoughts.

    How is your plant going? I would love to learn more.

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