Sometimes it’s easy to confuse words that we have heard repeated as truth with the “capital-T Truth” we read in the Bible. Today those truths collided as I listened to my pastor teach from the Gospel of Mark (9:30-50 to be exact.) His points were as follows:
1. True greatness is self-giving not self-aggrandizing.
2. Holiness doesn’t just happen: sin must be avoided at all cost.
And … there was probably a third point, but it somehow didn’t get recorded in my notes. However, that’s okay because it is the first point that I really needed to ponder today. Yeah–that nasty one about serving.
Honestly now, do you really like being a servant? I know there are some of you reading this who genuinely do enjoy serving others, and I am so thankful that there are people like you. But me, oh boy, not so much. Okay, there are definitely some times when I love to help others; but there are definitely times when I don’t, and it’s those “don’t” times that are really giving me trouble. And God surely has been giving me a lot of good practice in those “don’t” kinds of service opportunities lately.
It’s probably because I’ve been in that kind of a cycle that today’s sermon hit me so hard. I kept wanting to say, “Yes, but, Pastor Jim, you don’t know how hard it is to …” or “But I haven’t had any time to …” and so on. And that’s when my “truths” collided: “Sure, we need to serve others as Jesus did, but that doesn’t mean we have to be door mats.”
Really, Lisa? Where do you read that exception in the Scriptures? Jesus just took your sin on His innocent, holy self and died on the cross for you. So what’s your definition of a “door mat?”
Ugh. Yes, Jesus took it upon Himself to suffer and die in my place–He chose to do it, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t more difficult than I can ever imagine. Although He deserved all the glory, He took all the shame and derision instead. He came to serve rather than to be served, and that was exactly what He did.
AND He is my example! In spite of what nearly everyone says, maybe we are supposed to be door mats. Maybe we really are supposed to love others as ourselves, to turn the other cheek, truly to be salt and light in a decaying and darkened world. Yes! Truth hurts sometimes–especially when it crashes into my own self-centeredness–but that certainly doesn’t make it any less true.
Please, forgive me and help me, Lord, to serve as You serve–selflessly. Then, just maybe, I can become the same kind of door mat as You, one that proclaims, “Welcome!” to a hurting world.