Thursday, February 22, 2007

Post Sermon Trauma

I like it when people tell me that my lesson from the previous Sunday caused them to think about it all week long. Well, sometimes I'm a victim of my own preaching. I usually think about the lesson all week prior to the delivery and then unload it on Sunday and start focusing on the next, but this week has been different. I've been thinking a lot about my opening quote in last Sunday's lesson. I introduced it as one of my favorite saying, and it is, and I've spent plenty of time thinking about it in the past, but this week, for some reason, it has come back to haunt me several times. He it is, "The greatness of a person in not found in their talents, but in what discourages them." It's a truly different, and challenging way to look at our character. I forgot where I heard it first, and I've changed it a couple of times, so now I'm claiming it as original to me (originality is forgetting where you got it). What does our discouragements say about us? As I said in the lesson last Sunday, it speaks to our sense of purpose and our priorities in life. If every little thing that comes along that we don't like or want discourages us, it that not an indictment of our priorities in life? Does it show us how self-centered we are, or maybe how ungrateful we've become? My next question was, "What discourages God?" It's not just sin and ignorance, because that's common to mankind (Romans 3:23). It's how we think about him, when we reject him and his gracious love for us.

So why have I been thinking about "what discourages me" this week? I've just realized that when I focus on what God has done for me and continues to do for me, that should dramatically change how I see life's potential discouragements! Let people complain, let the news media sensationalize the mediocre, and the let the temperatures stay in the single digits too long! So what? God loves me! I love him! If I'm breathing, I have another second to glorify Him. How can I let anything that doesn't impact my hope of spending eternity with Him discourage me?

Yet, I do. Sometimes. But I'm not going to let that discourage me, because it's really not about my character as much as it is about His grace!


Hit 'em hi haw said...

Good thoughts, bro...I'm stealing some of them for my faculty meeting on Monday!

MaryAnn said...

Oh, this was so needed in my life, now. How much I need to take the focus off me and place it on the amazing power and love of Christ!
If I truly believe His promises, what joy I will find waiting for me, rather than the discouragement that steals.