Repost: Loving the many vs loving the few

When you invest your life into someone; as a pastor, mentor, friend, helper, brother – you’re loving one person — just one — in many ways. Many many ways. Time, meals, prayer, hugs, bible-reading together, the works.

But by doing that, you’re implicitly choosing NOT to love many people. As finite, limited, time-bound creatures, we just can’t love many people in many ways.

But, we do find ourselves loving many people in a few ways; preaching, leading prayers, teaching scripture, uploading the sermon for other people, photocopying the outlines. All these activities love many people, sometimes 100s or 1000s of people. But they only love them in a few ways. They’re not holistic expressions of love, but they are expressions of love non-the less.

This means:

1. A body of people can love each other in many ways when they all take care of loving the many in a few ways (sounds very 1Cor12 right?)

2. Most (but not all) “loving-many-in-a-few-ways” are formal ministry roles. Most (but not all) “loving-few-in-many-ways” are informal ministry roles.

3. Have you thought about how many you’re loving in a few ways? Or who you’re loving in many ways?

Why God gave you gifts

God gives gifts to individuals (like you) to serve his people (your church and the non-Christians around you).
Gifts from God enable people to do particular tasks really well.
If you’re struggling to do something at an average standard (kids ministry, preaching, music, admin) it might simply mean you’re not gifted in that role. That’s ok.
That doesn’t mean you stop necessarily. It might be thatGod will give you that gift in time. Or you might be in a situation where people around you need at least something, in which case your gift can be self-sacrifice.
And isn’t that everyone’s gift to give?

Take other-person-centred holidays

What are holidays for? Well the answer to that depends on your answer to the question, “What are you for?”

See, if you think that you exist for your own joy, fun, happiness… then holidays and time off is when you finannly get to be who you are. And work, family-life, normal-life is the regular inturruption to you being who you are.

But if you exist for God… if you are a forgiven servant of Jesus… if you are meant to be like Jesus – the servant of all – more and more every day… then work, family-life, normal-life is who you are. They are your spiritual act of worship (Rom 12:1-2).

So why would you ever take holidays from that?!?! Why would you take holidays from being who you are?!?!

So you can keep doing it. So your body doesn’t break down while serving others. So your marriage doesn’t break down. So your kids are reminded they have a dad who loves them.

Take holidays for them. Take holidays for other people. Take holidays so you can be who you are – a slave of Christ to other people – for the long haul.

Quote

No one brags about subverting a community they care about, because your peers will ostracize you (and why would you hurt a group that you are part of?). No, we feed the community first, then we take our share.

On the other hand, we often return a rental car unwashed, or turn a blind eye to someone sneaking into the movies, or fail to report a mistake in our favor by the credit card company. That’s because those institutions are apart from us, not a part of us.

Such wisdom you wish Christians had… from Seth Godin