I don’t know any perfect people.

I’d even go so far as to say that I don’t know anyone who doesn’t have at least a few issue’s that they’re working out, myself included of course. The same goes for people I don’t know, be they Christian or Atheist, rich or poor, even if you’re the Pope or the Dali llama it really doesn’t matter! All of us share the same gene pool, and there below our fancy Latin taxonomic name I think it should say in parenthesis…

One common approach used by those who feel compelled to address this greatest of all truths as a spiritual problem or sickness is to engage in various forms of self medication. To, by the use of ritualistic practices, behaviors or good works, overcome or compensate for their bad or evil nature with good or righteous acts. For Christian people this sometimes means regular church attendance or being involved with some personal ministry or outreach effort that their church supports.

One thing I’ve noticed about volunteer work in the church is that there’s usually far more people who’re willing to sign on to do high profile activities such as taking meals to homeless people or visiting the sick than there are who are willing to work at the church.

There are certainly exceptions, but usually they have to pay people to come in and do the cleaning, lawn care, and other more mundane tasks that are essential to the function and care of the church whereas outreach ministries provide their participants with an immediate “this looks AND feels good for me”  pay off.

I do understand that in the body of Christ there’s a place for everyone to serve and I’m a huge fan of doing so but have you ever wondered why people who consider themselves to be servants all seem to be gifted the same way?

Call me cynical or whatever but it’s hard for me not to see it as strange, it’s as though what they’re really wanting is for themselves to be glorified by these works instead of God.


Over the past several years I’ve been on both sides of things. I’ve been the person in need and I’ve been the one who was in a position to give. I’ve been helped, and helped others as well. I’ve also been confused by people who would help you as long as by doing so they looked like a hero but then, when it was a much smaller matter where perhaps just a word from them asking after me and my situation would’ve meant a great deal they suddenly seemed rather indifferent.

I can still recall how struck I was by my own feelings when after volunteering with a local outreach ministry I found myself filling out insurance forms so people could get medicines at no cost from pharmaceutical companies. Within a couple of weeks I began to dislike doing it because of how boring and confusing it was at times. I began to feel uninspired, wishing I could be involved in some other aspect of the ministry that I might find more interesting.

I remember thinking… “this just isn’t my area of spiritual gifting!” I continued to show up and tried to do my best. It sounds bad to say it but when I eventually became financially unable to continue making the hour long drive in twice a week I was actually sort of glad.

These scenario’s are just small examples of what I think it means to look into your own heart and see how self centered and prideful each of us are. Of how desperately each of us are in need a Savior, and how amazing the grace of God which is extended to each of us through His Son Jesus is!
To me, the most remarkable part of this story is how faithful God has been to me. How He’s shown me through untold small miracles how much I mean to Him. How is it then that I can turn away from what could’ve been an opportunity to share Christ’s love with someone else through simple things or grow weary in serving God because I don’t think it’s a good fit for me? Things like spending time with people you may find repugnant but who God has put on your heart, or perhaps doing boring, tedious things you may not actually like to do.
Who knows, maybe if by our doing these things in a selfless manor hoping for some privilege to share Christ through it we might just find our real place of service. We all want to find our purpose in Gods kingdom and play our part in His great plan. For some it’s to be center stage with the white hot spot light and Gods anointment on them, and for others it’s to work in the background in a supporting role of some kind.
What most of us don’t realize is that it’s only through our trusting God and being willing to do whatever He calls us to do in whatever circumstances we find ourselves that we’ll ever truly find our way. There comes a point where we have to stop looking at ourselves and start looking only to Him as the source of everything! We don’t look down, or back, or anywhere else but to Him! That’s when the power of the Lord our God will be seen in a mighty way in our lives and in the lives of those who we’re seeking to serve in His name!
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13 thoughts on “Look At Yourself…

  1. Hi Jeff. As you know I always look to my horses when I get confused or mired in an issue of will (or won’t…) I know that my horses are in perfect relationship to me when they focus on my face (body) and look only for direction or affection – the choice is entirely mine.
    The horse should not care or have an opinion about what I ask, just seek to obey. Whether it is a quick bareback ride in the pasture or hauling out to the World Show, the details of the task merely describe the circumstance. Relationships never depend on the details of circumstance.
    The blessing my horses receive is fearlessness through faith in my worthy leadership and the love that is always present. This is the same blessing children of God receive by relationship with Jesus Christ.
    Your post describes the situation well. When we are concerned about what we do and not relationship alone, then there is no blessing to anyone.
    Service to God is nothing more than enjoying His direction or affection – the choice is His. The details shouldn’t matter. They don’t to my horses…

    1. Thank you Lynn for sharing your insights, this especially…

      “The blessing my horses receive is fearlessness through faith in my worthy leadership and the love that is always present”

      I’m just so glad that God continues to do all of the “little things” He does for me everyday that I take for granted!

  2. Thanks Alton for your transparency and sharing. I think most of us—especially, sadly Christians are guilty of (perhaps without even realizing it) the motives behind why we do things. But, God knows our hearts even when we can’t see what’s in us and will allow the heart issues to be dealt with, one way or another. A few years ago, I traveled with a team to Texas as part of a disaster response evangelism effort, targeted to the Galveston area after Hurricane Ike. Frankly, I was bored and wanted to serve God. I thought I was not going to “get my hands dirty” as my friend who not only served on many teams, but was organizing this one, had promised. “I” would be one of the prayer chaplains who would “pray with people”. She knew from past experience that all that “other stuff” wasn’t my deal. She promised I would be with her the whole time. BUT GOD!—Ha Ha. Even before the traveling team with 12 of us cramped in a van arrived, God made it clear that of all the people there, it would be ME who would be separated from the team to go to another town with no one I knew. After swallowing hard and getting put through one unexpected event after another, I found myself with another well experienced chaplain at a woman’s house cleaning out her garage and possibly exposing ourselves to contamination and mold issues. My flesh was screaming. Needless to say, there were many areas of “myself” that needed to die on that trip. The crucifixion of our flesh is painful, but worth it. The more of US that dies, the more of Christ that can live in and through us. If but, we could just learn to embrace the trials in life as an expression of what God wants to do in our lives.
    Blessings,
    Coleen Johnson

    1. Coleen,
      At times I wonder if anyone else will relate to the things I write about, if God also deals with others in and through similar circumstances. Reading your story is a confirmation to me that He does!

      Our God is an awesomely faithful God who is the perfect Father to each of us!

      Thanks for your comment!

  3. Hi Alton… glad I drove by your blog! Truly inspiring!
    I was watching a documentary a few days ago on the 7 deadly sins focusing on Pride. Some said that trying to hard to be humble is the same as being overtly proud and it made sense. It’s like Christ said in Matthew 6:5 I think (sorry, I’m not so good with remember Chapter and Verse) .. that we should go into a closet, close the door and pray because those that pray on street corners already have their reward. I think it’s the same with people who want to do the “big” things as you stated.. Not that I know anyone’s heart and it isn’t my role to judge.. but to do something to be seen doing it is a lot different then doing something quietly, without acknowledgement from others.. only from God.

    I really enjoyed your post.. reading it and those like it really helps me to focus on what is important (my relationship with Christ) and not let too much of the “world” enter my heart!

    1. I really do appreciate you driving by and your kind words as well!

      Looking around me and inside of me everyday I realize all the more how much each of us is in need of a Savior! My heart goes out to those who’re still on the same wrong paths as I was at one time. I do my best to see them not with my worldly eye’s but with His loving eye’s, to forgive because I have been forgiven…to understand that deep inside we’re all just seeking His love, in our own messed up and mis-guided way’s.

      Thanks for visiting, come back anytime!

  4. Jeff,
    I too, find it a daily struggle to place God before myself especially when things are going well. It is a good thing He is patient and merciful. Keep up the good work.
    Peace,
    Hal

  5. Very astute observations, Alton. It’s hard for people to understand that Christians aren’t perfect — they only think they are! LOL Kidding..

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a great night.

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