Monday, December 22, 2008

Words are One Thing

Mission Statements. Vision-Casting. Key Result Areas. Goal-Setting. All good and useful items, but like some of the papers I wrote in college, they are just a lot of words unless we take their truth and put them into action. The same holds true for those New Year Resolutions that we write down at the beginning of each new year. Too often, they become nothing more than a bunch of words, never accomplishing the end we desired.

In my present sermon series, Changing Our World for Good, we have been looking out how Jesus came to change His world for good, and how we, as His followers, are to now join Him in that life-changing work. The rub comes for us in that we cannot just read His Word, and agree with His plan, but we must join Him in His work.

The problem, as I see it, is that too often I expect Jesus to join me in my plans. I write the Mission Statements, I Cast the Vision, and then I pray hard for Him to bless my work. I think for too long I had it all backwards (and I realize that I am not alone in this).

This Sunday I am planning, Lord willing, to be preaching out of John 3:22-36. Here, within this passage, we again encounter the forerunner of Jesus, John the Baptist (Luke 1:5-35; Luke 1:57-80; Luke 3:1-20; John 19:19-34) Central to this passage is John 3:30, "He must become greater,I must become less."

John's words, like some of my Mission Statements, sounds good, looks great on the top of your corporate letterhead, or emblazoned upon the foyer walls, but the practice of which is near impossible.

Would I dare to make this statement of John's my New Year Resolution? Sure, it sounds good, holy even, but to pray for its reality and to live out its truth...ah, there comes the difficulty.

To be honest the prospects of living out this statement is scary. It means living a life of humility. It means not even playing second fiddle, but maybe just being the person who sweeps the floor after everyone has left the building. Note, that continuing action of John's declaration; He must become greater, I must become less. It is not something I just do once, but Jesus must keep growing in glory, and I must continue to grow in humility. There is no promise of finally receiving my recognition as a servant, no, I must continue to make sure that it is Jesus who is lifted up and seen. My role and responsibility to be continue to work behind the scenes, continually pulling the curtain open to reveal the Lord's full glory.

Now, hear me, I am not saying the responsibility is one of demeaning, beaten down slavery, no, this is a position of great honor, to serve the King of kings. But, I must remember, it is all about Him! It is really about dying to self (Luke 9:21-27). It is the call of the true disciple of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah.

As I think about it, it is the rephrasing of the statement we have repeated at church over and over again over the past 11+ years..."It's not about me, It's about God."

How do we Change Our World for Good? By becoming less, so that He can become more. Now, there is a New Year Resolution worth living His grace and strength alone.

A Blessed Christmas to you!
And a Grace-filled year to come!


robin said...

ok, I'll just say it. I don't want to work on the goal of less of me. (More of Him sounds good.) My life revolves around me. I feel my life physically and emotionally. I live through the events and look toward my future. It's me, me, me. I think I would be much more willing to accept the goal of less of me, more of Him if I believed, and stayed continually aware of the fact that He is in me. We share this life.

Anonymous said...

A worthwhile New Years reslution for all of us.

Merry Christmas to everyone!