"By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that come from your confession of the gospel of Christ... while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift." - 2 Corinthians 9:13-15
Recently, I've had to face my own tendency to simply not care for those God has put in my path. It's been sort of depressing. Alright so it's been really depressing. And I'm not talking about the kids and Melissa, though I often take them for granted as well.
What I'm talking about are those who I know are hurting around me in ministry, needing an encouraging call, a pause at their desk to show interest or simply an ear to listen. How many times do I pass up these opportunities to reflect God because I'm too busy focusing on stuff that I deem "important"?
This whole blogging thing, while cathartic, can also be a little annoying at times like these. Writing about how the gospel collides with my life can be a little uncomfortable. It can be sort of like seeing a huge pimple in the mirror and determining to ignore it for the rest of the day. You know every one else is going to see it and be grossed out, but you are just not willing to go to the effort of dealing with the pimple.
I know its sort of a gross illustration. But sin is gross and it probably effects those around me far more than I think. And every time I refuse to do what I hear in passages like the one above, I do positive harm to people.
Then there's the flip-side, the reality of God's abounding grace. The reality of this super-abundant, over-flowing, all-surpassing love that surrounds me every day. This tender and compassionate stance that God has towards me, always gifting me an undeserving one.
This morning I found David (our four year old) settling in for a mid-morning nap at the foot of the stairs. He had a pillow, a blanket, and his pink "blanky" (which has been handed down from Teya and even has tassels on it! I love it). With his thumb firmly planted in his mouth, he looked up at me with the satisfied/mischievous look of a child towards father, a look that said, "I know this looks sooo comfortable that it must be wrong, but let's just keep this to ourselves ok?"
I couldn't resist this little bundle of satisfaction. I knelt down, and in an act of worship kissed David and gave him a little tickle. God's grace is everywhere, tenderly pursuing the selfish and self-absorbed like me.
This is why I am determined, at least in this moment, to respond to this grace with more fervor, to enjoy it with more thanksgiving and to share today. It's the Christian's joy to know that grace trumps sin, the Christian's hope that the void we feel between us and the gospel is closing and the Christian's deepest desire to express this "inexpressible gift" with the actions of his/her life.
I say all this in the hopes that I'm lining up in the tradition of Paul exhorting the Corinthians, who just loved to see humanity reacting to this rightness from God, this obedience to who we now are.
For in Jesus I am "pimple-less" before the most important mirror there is. And my soul aches for more Jesus humanity, both in me and in the world around me.