Thursday, March 22, 2012

Authority To Serve - How I realized I was insecure because of my pride.

The well's been a little dry, folks. I promise there have been three days between last week and this where I pulled up Blogger to write. All three times, I sat there looking at the cursor, thinking about Billy Crystal at the beginning of Throw Mama From The Train. "The night was... moist..."

Somewhere, at some time, I developed this idea of the Press as a serious source of theological thought. But the name of the blog itself should remind me I'm just a dude. 'Am-ha'aretz, ordinary and unlearned. Not every post is going to make you weep with its depth of sensitivity and thought. Sometimes I like to post Judas Priest videos.

And that's okay.

But sometimes I hang myself up on the thought of how much people like me. Of course I assume people like me less than they do in real life. But the idea, the thought, will drive me to do what I think will make you all like me more. Which probably makes me less likable in the end.

And, if you can believe it, I know this spiral happens because of my pride. I sit at the bar in my head talking to the Me I think I am and say, "People should see how great I am. You've got to do a better job letting them know."

Before the apostles were "the apostles", they were "the disciples". In Luke 9:1-2, Jesus gave his disciples authority to minister to people. This is pretty early in the book. The disciples sometimes found themselves in the same pride/insecurity cycle I've ridden all week. They argue over who is the greatest among them while they're walking next to God incarnate. Two of them want Jesus to guarantee places of honor and respect, so they have their mom ask him for it. I mean, really, would you have your mom ask your boss to give you a promotion?

But Jesus had given them authority to minister. He knew they were ordinary and flawed. So when they were proud, he reminded them greatness is found in serving people. Greatness is in humility. The cycle should rotate the other way. If we think we're great, our greatness should motivate us to minister to others. To serve them in their need.

By minister, I don't mean simply preaching or imparting wisdom (although that can certainly be a part of it). Luke 9:1-2 described it as healing people, releasing them from spiritual bondage, and telling people about the kingdom of God. In the next chapter, the disciples return and say, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" And Jesus tells them, "Hey guys, that's great, but don't rejoice in your authority. Pride caused Satan to fall. Rejoice in the fact you know me and have salvation." That was my paraphrase, but you get it.

Jesus gave the disciples authority, but they were proud screw ups. Did that mean he didn't want to them to keep ministering? Did they need a week of paralyzing self-doubt to get their heads straight? No, guys. That doesn't work for, like, anyone.

A friend of mine once said, "You don't have to have everything figured out in order to help other people. It's okay if you're only a step ahead of where they are. Help them make that next step."

So, my apologies for standing still. In the future, if we're going to stand around, we may as well watch some YouTube together.

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