“What we proclaim is not ourselves but Jesus Christ.” Paul said this,
a long time ago.
Times have changed. Now there’s Facebook and Google+. There are endless blogs and social twitter to sustain the soul’s endless craving for attention. We all want to matter, to someone. And now all the world can know what I am doing, what I am thinking, and what I look like—at any given moment! Never has there been such potential to proclaim ourselves!—or, to feel the sagging weight of going unnoticed.
I am not pointing any fingers. (I’m only too aware that any time you point a finger at somebody else, three are pointing back at yourself. Try it and see.) I blog. I use Facebook, and I am even trying out Google+. What for? I like to think it’s because I want to stay connected, to keep up with friends and family and to share my life with people I don’t often see. I do mean for my writing to make Jesus look great. But maybe I post (sometimes?) just to be seen, thought of, admired, and praised?
After all, has something really happened if it’s not documented with a picture or status update on Facebook! Like what’s the value of a tandem ride that’s not recorded on STRAVA to see the stats—the mileage, the calories burned, the altitude climbed, the hours elapsed and HOW I MEASURE UP to fellow-cyclists! The burning question rises: Am I significant without Comments or Kudos?
Is a wildflower beautiful if it’s never been seen by anyone? Is a tree grand if it stands on a mountain top unseen by human eyes? Does its falling make a noise if no one is there to hear it?
So I write these Dawn Ponderings, putting in print what I am learning from the Word and from life walked out with the Spirit (and from the trips and falls)…hoping these words will not fall to the ground unseen, daring to believe that they will have some impact for good somewhere…or make at least a flashing blink of a difference in that moment they traverse your brain waves, before they are lost in the sea of words and media in which we float on the Internet…
But I’ve faltered; I’ve taken a sabbatical. It started out as a week’s travel break, which led to nearly three months of break, and a chance to consider—Why do I blog anyway? Is it just to be thought clever / spiritual / wise? Or am I writing for a bigger purpose that goes beyond seeking comments and kudos?
Since last I wrote here there have been travels, and family visits, and grandkid pictures by the score, and hours in the garden, and more hours spent reading in the summer sun. Lots and lots of words have been ingested—good words, God’s Words, and a few poured out in ink. And every week as Friday has neared I’ve thought of what I could write about, but hesitated to plunge back in to weekly posts.
I have plenty of excuses for not writing—most having to do with protecting my pride. I have nothing clever to say, and likely nothing original—at least compared to other choice blogs I read…There are plenty of other writers doing it better and more compellingly than I can. What difference will it make if I drop out? (What does a middle toe have to offer anyway?)
I’m a slow writer. It takes me time to churn out what is really in my heart and mind. Is it worth the effort?
And always there are the ‘gremlins’ on my shoulder, those doubts every would-be-writer knows--you can’t keep this up. Who do you think you are? You’re a hypocrite. You don’t live out what you write about…
Wow. Well that last accusation could silence me forever. Who practices perfectly what they know to be true? We are, after all, only clay pots. Does that invalidate the message? Paul had it right. He knew that his message had little to do with himself, except as servant, and everything to do with Jesus, as Lord, and worthy of all the kudos!
His words arrested my mullings over why I write: “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (II Cor.4:5) Enough of my reasons, my excuses, my self! I am but the medium, the clay pot through which the message shines. It’s not about me. If it were, it would be as short-lived as most social twitter, like the blink of a firefly on a hot summer’s night. There, then gone.
But if it’s God’s Word and character and power and kingdom and wonderfulness that I exist to make known… well that’s an everlastingly worthwhile vocation! And the pressure is off for me to be news-worthy, clever or brilliant! Clay pots generally aren’t.
So here I am commencing again, my eyes set on my role-- to live through all the ordinary, crazy, and humbling moments of my life believing God is great and God is good and God is with me in the midst of it all…then to write from that God-confidence, not to make much of me but of the One who
grants the faith
and supplies the grace
and gives the ability to be a steady middle toe (that feels compelled to write!)
If you see the doubts, fears, and shortcomings that will inevitably (and repeatedly) surface, may they only serve to highlight how amazing God is to entrust His message to clay pots!
Life assaults us all. Paul knew hardships I will never dream of (Consider II Cor. 4:8,9; 6:4ff; 11:23ff) but he kept believing in the unseen glory that transcended all these trials. And from that position of faith he spoke. He joined the ranks of all the faithful gone before him when he asserted:
‘we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence.’ (II Cor. 4:14)
- He knew that faith expressed is mutually encouraging. (Rom.1:12)
- He gloried in his weaknesses, knowing they would make the power of Christ all the more visible (II Cor.12:9,10)
- And he refused to rely on people feedback for his approval. He wasn’t dependent on ‘likes’ and comments and kudos. He chose to be a trustworthy steward answerable to God. (I Cor.4:3-4)
I am stirred, encouraged and challenged to take these things to heart and to continue writing, for the strengthening of my own faith, and by His grace, of yours too(?)
I have missed writing here. I find I need the exercise of distilling brainwaves into print. It is for me a way of taking thoughts captive and making them align with the Word. And I need the written reminders of things that are true, the record of what God has impressed on my heart.
And I welcome your company; feel free to read over my shoulder. I trust we’ll be mutually encouraged to look always beyond the seen things to the Unseen. That is where the ‘well-done, good and faithful servant’ lies. That’s what we’re living for.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day…as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (II Cor.4:16ff)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (II Cor.12:9)