The heart of this blog is to describe a different perspective of the Kingdom of God and how it is expressed in our world. Usually we dive into a particular passage and work to shed light on that passage to see it with a fresh perspective. However, today I want to share a small concern I have when I listen to stories shared within the Christian community.

The set-up is consistent, the speaker shares about incredible divine encounters with God, powerful revelation and personal reformation, and then the fruit of impact in their sphere of influence and beyond. The stories are always moving and inspiring. I love these types of stories. But sometimes (not always) an unfortunate turn is made that grieves my heart in the process. Here’s the turn.

The speaker begins to expound on why these encounters happened, why this revelation was discovered, and why the fruit has been so profound. And most of the time without saying it the speaker points to themselves and how seriously they took the commands of Christ. Heart break.

Why? Because when you boil it all down what is really caught is to rely on self-will for the things of God. Isn’t that funny? We look to how serious we are, rather than how good and gracious God is. Here’s the bummer. In a room full of hearers you have several responses happening at once. You have the, “I can do that too!” crowd who love every word spoken. Then you have the, “I can’t do that, but I better try my hardest if I want my life to count,” crowd that feels very defeated but compelled to give it the ‘ol college try to see what happens. Finally you have the, “I’m so overwhelmed I won’t even try,” crowd that does not connect with the God’s heart to use anyone and everyone who will trust Him to grow us into the men and women that can turn the world upside down.

What grieve’s me is the collateral damage. Especially, when contrast with the people Jesus seemed to select as leaders. Jesus picked from the “I can’t but I’ll try,” and the “I’m overwhelmed and won’t try,” crowd. Jesus focused on the ordinary not the extraordinary. I think we like to romanticize the disciples because we know the outcome, but these guys were ordinary people who discovered an otherworldly God.

Finally, I am grieved because the speakers miss the point. It wasn’t their ability or their commitment that qualified them. Their ability and commitment were gifts from God and He is the one that gave them and sustained them even when we think it is our good decisions. What does that say about God? That He is humble and doesn’t mind letting His creation get affirmation for what He did. That’s leadership. Not being bright, shiny, and polished, but living to elevate others, celebrate others, and get out-of-the-way. It’s laying down your life that others might thrive even if you go unnoticed and are forgotten.

My encouragement to you is to recognize God is the author of your success. Yes, we have things we learn that help us grow and help others move forward and we should share those insights. But we must remember and genuinely say, that God is the initiator and sustainer even on our best days of fruitfulness. Humility and promoting others are beautiful gifts that serve us over a lifetime. And again, this is good news!