Thursday, April 12, 2007

What do we think about when we have nothing to think about?

I just read a news report about Pope Benedict’s concern for the future of Europe. The concern expressed was in response to a study that looked at the ever decreasing birth rate in the European Union countries. The Pope said many of the people in the EU have become self-centered, viewing children as a hindrance to their own pursuits.

Should we be surprised? When the Lord is pushed out as the center of our lives, we get busy and rush in to fill the vacuum. We become our own god. Sound familiar?

What is the center of your life, the Lord or other things? The easiest test to take to find out what truly is the center of our life is to ask this question. What do I think about when I have nothing to think about? This may sound silly at first glance, but I believe this to be a powerful question. Whatever the answer is, it is more than likely the center of our lives.

In response to the previous question, did you like what you found? I believe we Americans are as self-centered as the Europeans. Listen to how we converse with one another; most of the time our discussions are about what we do. We talk about our kids, our grandkids, our jobs, and our personal world. We talk superficially almost all the time. We talk about $30,000 cars, $800 purses and all the while we have full bellies and empty hearts.

Do any of us have a vision for our families, our communities, our churches, our country, our world beyond those driven by our own vested self-interest?

This week a woman at my home church asked a great question. “Jerry what are you seeing out there when you preach at those other churches?" I told her God has his people everywhere and many of them are lonely, worried and hurting people.

I spoke at a church from part of Mark 8, it’s about “Some people” who bring a blind man to Jesus and beg Jesus just to touch him. Not heal him, just touch him. When I finished preaching, I was greeting people when an 80 year old widow came by and asked “Could you just give me a hug?” I gave her a hug; we had a long warm conversation.

Are we pursuing our own self-centered pursuits, while people around us just need a hug? Are we distracted while studying “Ten easy steps to Victorious Christian Living” while in our presence lonely, hurting people are in need of just a hug? Do we even notice them?

In utter darkness, the littlest light shines the brightest. This woman taught me an important lesson. Am I going through the motions, or do I truly care about my fellow man?

Do I take time for the children that come into my presence? Do I make an effort to talk and hug Annie even though she can’t lift her head anymore?

Do I use my home as my castle? Do I retreat behind its walls to escape a hurting and needy world I don’t want to understand? Do I get irritated when someone calls to chat when I’m watching March Madness?

Jesus said “what you do unto the least of these you do unto me”. I do not believe the Europeans have a corner on the “self-centeredness” market. I believe it’s alive and well in our American culture and sadly, alive and well inside our churches.

Lord forgive us for our self-centeredness, Lord help us, wake us up. May we use our gifts as a blessing to a hurting world, and in the end may you, Lord truly get all the Glory - Amen.

1 comment:

Lee R. Shelton, III said...

There you go again, stepping on my toes!! Thanks, I needed that.