I was asked by a friend to find a story that I had shared in a past message…it took me a while, but I found it. In it, Tim Keller quotes a parable that Elizabeth Elliot used to use…it’s in the form of a fictional PARABLE (in other words, it’s not in the Bible):
“One day, Jesus asked the disciples to pick up a rock and to follow him on a journey. Peter picks up a pebble, like us, he’s thinking “What is the LEAST burdensome way to fulfill this command?”, and they journey all morning long, Peter is thinking: I nailed this one. Then, Jesus tells them to get their stones out, and he turns them all to bread…tells them: lunchtime! And each disciple’s stone turns to bread, of course Peter had only a small pebble, so that’s all the bread he got for lunch. Peter is a bit put out, and he’s hungry.
Then, after lunch, Jesus tells them Pick up another stone, we’re going on another journey. So Peter…I’m gonna be starving by dinnertime, picks up a HUGE rock…boulder. Sweats and staggers under it’s weight all afternoon. Then, Jesus calls them over to the edge of a stream and has them all throw their stones into the river. Again, Peter is put out, sulking, and thinking: “What! No bread!?”
Jesus comes to him and gently asks him: Peter, why are you upset? Who were you carrying the rock FOR?”
Not once was Peter carrying that rock for Jesus…he was carrying it for himself! His motivation was completely for what he would GET! How can Peter take care of PETER?
How often are we exactly like that in our devotion to Jesus?
The challenge for all of us is that we do all that we do for Jesus. If He calls us to carry the rock, then we carry the rock for Jesus. We give, we serve, we share, we live for Jesus! We don’t give to manipulate God into giving us something. We give because Jesus models it and tells us to! AND as we give like Jesus, we realize that you can’t outgive God! We don’t serve because of the blessings we’ll receive from serving! We serve because Jesus calls us to serve! And then as we serve, we realize that we are blessed far more than we are a blessing…that’s just how it ends up working in God’s economy! And above all we love, because we are loved, and we are called to love! So love outlandishly today, and love for Jesus!!
Got a GREAT email today (already wrote her back):
My name is Lida Glover and I live in the Isle of Lewis which is a
small island off the north west coast of Scotland.
I have felt prompted to email after reading the first few chapters of
"Glorious Mess" by your lead Pastor - Mike Howerton. It was so
encouraging to receive guidance with such humour, realism and honesty.
When you are trying to be a Christian it is so easy to measure
yourself against people who seem to have it all sussed and inevitably
to feel like such a failure.
Thank you for making me feel normal!!
This Saturday, I’m honored to speak at the Northwest Christian Writers Renewal Conference. I truly feel honored, because last year, I was simply an attendee, and I took notes like crazy. I literally put into practice just about everything that I learned in the sessions that I attended.
Glorious Mess, my autobiographical book based upon the Prophet of Jonah (yeah, it’s a little confusing) was officially released in February. And now, I have the privilege of encouraging others afflicted with the desire to write, by sharing with them the good, the bad, and the ugly of a year of writing and publishing when you don’t have the ability to devote full time to it.
My session is called A Journeyman’s Year at the Writing Craft, and I’d love to invite you to join me. If you’re a writer as well, feel free to register for the whole shebang at http://www.nwchristianwriters.org/ and let me know…I’ll look for you! It will be helpful, uplifting, and a true encouragement. You know that book that God planted in your heart…it’s time to dig it up and share it with the world!!
There have been a ton of great responses to by latest book, Glorious Mess, over the last few months…but I wanted to mention a few that have touched me especially.
My friend Janie has given out 46 copies of Glorious Mess to her friends, and to folks she cares about. In her conversations, she’s listening to her friends, and if she senses that they’d be blessed by the book, then she gives them a copy. She’s told me that the only other book she’s ever done this with is the book Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young. Now I have to confess, Young’s book is AMAZING, and so Janie has given me the highest compliment ever, by placing my work in truly great company.
My friend Mindi has been so complimentary, she’s asked if she could take a look at pulling out a bunch of Glorious Mess Quotes, one for each day of the year. I’m humbled, and I’m honored! I’m not sure if there are THAT many…(it’s not a very long book) but just the desire is incredibly touching.
And just today, I got an email from Jason, a young man who was a part of my youth ministry over a decade ago. Now he’s charging life and career and family down in California, and he wrote to tell me how much Glorious Mess is speaking into his messy world. “And I don’t READ books!” he wrote.
I just wanted to say thank you. Thanks Janie, Mindi, and Jason! I love that you’ve been blessed by the MESS!
How about you? If you’ve cracked the book, is there any chance you’d be willing to waste a couple of seconds on feedback? I’d love to hear from you…