revelation

In correspondence to a friend earlier this morning I had a moment of revelation that I thought I would share with you:

Is one reason that people think churches are full of hypocrites because Christians are imperfect people trying to follow a perfect Lord and our imperfections show up in greater relief against the life and teaching of the One we seek to follow?

Empty PlinthIt also inspired me to write an ickle pome:

Don’t put your pastor on a pedestal

They’ll only fall off.

Don’t give your minister a medal

It’ll make their spouses scoff.

Don’t make a saint of your shepherd

You’re ignoring the stains.

Don’t romanticise your rector’s record

It’ll only bamboozle their brains.

That doesn’t mean we don’t like or need encouragement, but help us keep a good sense of perspective!

Be blessed, be a blessing.

 

God’s trophy cabinet

I put my size eleven feet in it recently. I forgot to do something I said I would do and as a result some people were upset. What would you do in those circumstances?

Shrug, accept that we are all fallible and carry on…

Worry about it and make yourself upset…

Write a note of apology and post it…

Go and see the people you have upset to apologise…

Write a blog about it…

Some of above…

None of the above…

I am not going to tell you what I did, save that God’s grace has been abundant in the outcome.

I wonder if sometimes people forget that others will make mistakes. We sometimes put people on pedestals of perceived perfection (and alliteration) and then are surprised when they fall off. We find it particularly difficult when they are people from whom we expect ‘better’. If someone is regularly letting us down we may have lower expectations from them, but if someone has been consistently helpful and then fails we can feel more let down because of the contrast.

TrophyI don’t think God sees it that way. Just as he has no hierarchy of sin (unlike some of us) he has not got a range of expectations for us. He hopes for the best for every one of us. His Spirit within us is aiming as high as possible as he bears fruit within us and gifts us for works of mission and service.

Jesus doesn’t put us on pedestals, he has us in his trophy cabinet: he thinks we are wonderful. He sees us as his pride and joy! We cause him delight.

And when we let him (and others) down, he is gracious enough to forgive us and help us make a fresh start. And he wipes the slate clean. That may be why he does not have a range of expectations of us. He does not hold onto our past failures and hold them against us. He sees each fresh start as exactly that. Fresh. New. Clean. Shiny. Full of possibilities.

The people I let down have been very gracious and forgiving. Their response to my apology has helped me to reflect on God’s response too.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

 

A joke about pride…

A big-time negotiator was out fishing one day when he caught a strange looking fish. He reeled the fish in, unhooked it, and threw it on the ground next to him. The fish started writhing in agony and, to the negotiator’s surprise, said, “Please throw me back into the lake and I’ll grant you three wishes.”

“Any three wishes, huh?” the negotiator mused as visions of expensive fast cars and beautiful women paraded through his head.

“Fish,” he finally exclaimed, “Give me five wishes and I’ll throw you back.”

“Sorry,” the fish answered while struggling for breath, “only three wishes.”

The negotiator’s pride was at stake and after giving the matter some thought he announced, “What do you take me for? A sucker? I’ll settle for four wishes.”

“Only three,” the fish murmured weakly.

Fuming, the man debated the pros and cons of accepting the three wishes or continuing to bargain for that one extra wish. Finally, the negotiator decided it wasn’t worth looking a gift fish in the mouth and said “All right fish, you win, three wishes.”

Unfortunately, by then the fish was dead.