When I take a magnifying glass to scripture, so many words feel incredibly personal. And they are! I seek for God to speak to ME through His Word. Personal convictions, though, truly become fruitful when they lead me to see that in the end it’s not about me. Scripture must first transform my small world before I participate in a work so much bigger than me.
Life circumstances are invitations of participation in His mission.
What does scripture say about being part of something bigger than me?
Let me give you just a few examples.
1. MY LIFE “PITS" ARE ABOUT SOMETHING BIGGER THAN ME.
Pits stink. (Actually that was not an intended pun, just kind of came out that way). The depths of lonely, painful places truly just suck. (Can I say that?) We fall off, most of the time unexpectedly, into a dark place where we kick and scream and cry out to God until we have no words left. We get stuck in the mud, emotionally hyperventilating, mentally paralyzed and wonder if we will ever get out. We wait patiently for God. And then He in His timing He lifts us out of the pit. Notice, that we don’t climb out ourselves. He sets our feet on solid ground and then He puts a new song in our mouth. In other words, our pit leads to a new normal. Why? “So that many will see and fear and put their trust in Him.” (Psalm 40:1-3) In other words, my pit isn’t about me. We are appointed to be a story. Our story of his deliverance becomes greater than just a feel good story of getting out of despair. It’s about what He is doing in me so that many others will see and put their trust in him.
2. MY LIFE BLESSINGS ARE ABOUT SOMETHING BIGGER THAN ME.
Yes, God bless me! Let your face shine up on me and my family and my work and my dreams and my passions and my leadership and my desires and my weaknesses and talents and my calendar and and my day and my decisions, etc. You’ve prayed something like that, too, and could add more to the list. When God blesses our requests, we feel magically honored that our prayer was heard. God’s blessings are are not for us. "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us…” WHY?... "So that your ways may be known on earth,your salvation among all nations.” Psalm 67:1-2 God’s blessings are not just for personal enjoyment, but for exclaiming who He is.
3. MY EXPERIENCES WITH JESUS SHOULD NOT BE COMPARTMENTALIZED TO BIG PICTURE VS. MY PICTURE.
The disciples had breadcrumbs on their shirts as they wondered how in the world they are going to find bread. How did this happen?
Everyone knows the story of Jesus' feeding the 5000! But let’s put together several chapters in Mark to get the big picture. The disciples interrupted Jesus’ teaching because they saw a logical problem. They proposed that Jesus dismiss everyone early to get food. Jesus moved past logic gave them an invitation of participation in His mission when he said “you feed them.” They didn’t see how, so Jesus led them to participate. Bread and fish multiplied and were people fed. And then same song, second verse happens when Jesus feeds 4000. Shockingly, after feeding 5000 they have no clue how to feed 4000 people. So Jesus leads them again, multiplies bread and fish and people are fed. Immediately they get in a boat, and although Jesus is trying to teach them something important, the disciples are arguing because they forgot to bring bread! They have breadcrumbs on their shirts after collecting baskets of leftovers. Jesus gives them a pop quiz about how many baskets of bread were left and then asked them a poignant, seemingly offensive question - “Why are your hearts hard? They were so concerned about their personal needs, they overlooked the bigger picture of Jesus’ power and their participation in what He was doing. They compartmentalized their experience but had not personally internalized it allowing it to consume their soul. In doing so, it became God’s big picture vs. their small picture, and they didn’t see how they had been invited into something bigger than themselves. Why? Because their hearts were hard, (Mark 6:30-44; Mark 8:1-21)
Truly we are invited into something bigger than ourselves! Our small world declares the glory of His big work. Let us not live with a small vision of God’s mission and our role int it, but rather change our perspectives so our life becomes a larger version of His mission. It’s about me being all about Him.
Pssst.... this post is apart of the 5th Annual Not About Me November Series. Check the rest of the posts out here.
Lori is a Global Mission Catalyst at IMB, mobilizing churches and leading women to participate in God’s global mission. She, her husband, and their 3 kids lived in Africa as missionaries before returning to plant Grace Point Church in Bentonville, AR where Mike is Sr. Pastor. She’s passionate about discipling people to see how their everyday life collides with God’s mission of making His glory known to all nations. She blogs at lorimcdaniel.org
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