Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's Not All About Me (or you either)

I will be away this Sunday. Joann and Jolly Davis will be talking about the Alliance of Baptist meeting in New Orleans and the work they did there.

So this gives me a chance to share something that happened to me recently that I found interesting...and funny...and thought provoking.

We were having the monthly potluck at church last Sunday. Joann made a comment (I forget what it was exactly) and I responded by saying something like "did I do something wrong?"

At that point, Marge leaned toward me and said, "It's not all about you Stephen." The table laughed...then laughed again when I told Marge that I would pass along to my wife Carole that she had stepped in (in my wife's absence) to remind me that everything isn't all about me.

It's a problem that many of us raised with high standards and expectations often have. If something goes wrong-it must be our fault. If someone is upset-we must have done something. We are somehow responsible for keeping all the wheels greased and all the folks happy; so if there's a problem...it must be all about us.

There's an even uglier shadow side to this. In my secret heart I think that because I work so hard to do it right, to be good, to be caring...that I deserve to be rewarded. People should love me, sing my praises...or at least be grateful for all I've done. After all...It's All About Me. For many of the persons I've worked with who've broken the law in one way or another this is the very excuse they use: 'I work so hard, I put in all this energy, I'm entitle to... (fill in the blank for yourself). But it all translates out to the same message: It's All About Me.

This morning I was trying to reflect on the Lord's Prayer when it hit me. When you and I say "Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be THY name; THY kingdom come, THY will be done." We're acknowledging that it's NOT All About Me.

In fact, in the great scheme of things, it's hardly about me at all. It's about God; and God's desire and love for God's creation. What it's about is whether or not God's will, God's desire, God's kingdom are realized in the moments of our lives...and through the actions of our lives. Our task is to seek that will, that kingom, and try as best we are able to join ourselves to it.

There is a gift for us here. See, if it's all about me, then my salvation is all about me too. And if my salvation is all about me...if my relationship to God is all about me...then, I don't know about you, but I'm toast. Cause I just can't do it. But what if here as well as in other ways, it's not all about me. If it's not all about me; then maybe I can relax. Maybe I can not have to be so scared of failure. Maybe I can risk. Martin Luther once said, "Sin boldly, but believe more boldly still."

If it's not all about me, then I can enjoy the part that is about me...that God loves you and me; that God loves us in ways beyond our imagining. And in that love we can risk, and fail, and rise again as we move toward God's will for us and for our world.

It's not all about me...or you either. Thanks be to God.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen, Stephen! It's not about any of us specifically - and honestly, I know I could stand to be reminded of that regularly. As you say, we need to balance looking inward and looking outward in our ministries.