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I’ve been consumed with college lately. Every time I get a notion to write here, something distracts me. The problem is that I want to write thoughtful things that take an hour or two to craft. But I only have ten minutes, fifteen tops, before another assignment or task comes due.

Enter the short, focused observation. Like this…

Recently I prayed very sincerely for God to convict me of pride and help me gain some much-needed humility. I want to be more like Jesus, but pride keeps standing in my way. At least I recognize that now. A couple of years ago, when I first heard about pride being more a hindrance than a help to spiritual growth, I was like, “pride? what pride? I’m just good at stuff.”

Oh how the times have changed! I want to be a nurturing influence on people, not some aloof creature. So, rather like Gideon asking for just one more sign that God is paying attention (Judges 6), as I was praying before bed one night, I asked that God give me opportunities to nurture.

The next day, as soon as I arrived at my job at a local college tutoring center, opportunities abounded! Staff, fellow tutors, and students all presented me with situations in which I could have responded to them with distracted ambivalence, which I would have justified by being busy with important work. Instead, remembering my request to God, I stopped what I was doing and turned my full attention to them. I responded to them with the same kind of sincere concern I would have for my own needs. I think I was able to help them – they responded with what seemed like a fresh spirit for the situations that were troubling them. But it made such a difference in my own day. In the same way that I think I receive more growth from tutoring than the students who I assist, my own attitude became lighter and more joyful. All my “important work” got done before it was due and I really felt like a nurturing influence.

God is so good! I’ve been telling people about His immediate reply to my prayer and how I can feel the light of His kingdom flowing through me. I’ve been looking for situations to help with all week now, but with my focus on the needs of others, not on my own need to feel good about doing good. It is a delicate difference but a very significant one. It requires effort on my part to be sure my good works are done in the spirit of being the hands of Christ, and not for my own satisfaction.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:8-10 

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