To understand what I am saying you first need to know that from a young age I took care of my very self absorbed parents, my younger brother and sister, got married, raised four kids and worked most of my life either as a server or a caregiver. I got the servant’s heart thing down pat, in fact, I got it down so well, I know what it is like to be fully erased, to self identify as nothing more than someone else’s narcissistic supply.
I don’t get into trouble with the Lord very often, but once when I was literally washing feet (diabetic foot clinic,) He said, “Stop. I need you to quit your job right now.” I knew I was in trouble because I felt that little, “Bugger off, you’re not the boss of me” thing rise up inside.
Long story short, but it turns out He actually is the boss of me.
And that began my journey into learning how to be selfish, not self absorbed mind you, but to jealously guard my faith and my relationship with Him, as if I were His priceless investment. We are in fact, just that, His priceless investment. We were bought at a great price. We sometimes get this so wrong in the church. I can’t tell you how many sermons I’ve heard about how, “..but Jesus loved Martha and Martha was doing good things, too!” Perhaps, but methinks it’s really pastors who like their Martha’s. Jesus said nothing of the sort. In fact He said, “Mary has chosen the better and it will not be taken from her.”
True story, if we were all actually resting at the feet of Jesus, learning from Him, letting Him heal us, there probably wouldn’t be much ministry for us to go out and “do.” There would be a lot less mess in the world, a lot less desperation. We only love others because Christ first loved us. We can only give away what He has first imparted to us. If we all spent a lot more time receiving what He wants to give us and less time out trying to fix all the broken things, the world would look so much different.
I’ve been studying Steve Backlund’s book and he says, “recognize what is happening IN you is more important than what is happening through you.” That is a tough one, especially in the Western world where we are often really driven. Also, in the churchian world many learn to put others first. We hardly ever put it into practice of course, but we’re aware of the idea and so we assume everybody else should come before ourselves and putting ourselves first is selfish.
Steve Backlund also said, “Ministry does not primarily come from what we know, but from who we are.” Exactly. One of my favorite theologians was actually an atheist, very smart, knew Hebrew, Greek, knew absolutely everything…..but not God. There is “knowing” and then there is knowing.
Jealously guard your faith, your heart, and your own time with the Lord. Put your relationship with Him first. Be selfish in that way. Sometimes it really is all about you. In fact, sometimes we try to avoid confronting the truth of our own selves by ministering to others.