Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm Done

It's funny how most temptations seem to effect the young. There is one, though, to which older Christians seem more susceptible. As a matter of fact, the very things we admire in people (faithfulness, sacrifice, and service) are the conditions that make this temptation possible.

It is a particularly ugly temptation. It does not draw us like the lust of the flesh or the lust of the eyes. It falls into the third category of sin, the pride of life. It is a pitiful, self-focused, and resentful temptation that lures us into the pit of smallness. Its victims are the hard-working Christians, the long-suffering spouses, the underpaid employees, the ones willing to do it "when no one else will." When this temptation sees those people, it sharpens its claws and licks its fangs.

Those who fall into this pit lose marriages and ministries. They sacrifice the prize that is set before them, tossing out a 30 year marriage because their spouse didn't appreciate them, quitting a 25 year pastorate because the church didn't honor them as it should, giving up the children's Sunday School class because parents just didn't appreciate what they did, sitting at home and skulking because the last time they helped in VBS, cleaned out a classroom, or worked the work day no one seemed appreciative enough. It's amazing how this temptation can lead you to walk away from a job just 2 years shy of full retirement.

These are the things you hear from the once-faithful-ones who have fallen into this pit; "Let's see how well they do without me down at that shop." "Let's see if they can find someone else who worked as hard as me." "Just see if they can find anyone else up there at that church to do that job." "See if she can find a husband who worked as hard as I did." "Forget it, I volunteered teh last time and no said so much as a thank you."

May we revel in the approval of God when man forgets us and our service. May we work till Jesus comes, not till we get fed up with it all. May we never prove ourselves small by refusing to serve God, church, spouse or community again because we were not appreciated the last time. May we make ourselves small in this world, becoming the servant of all, so that our God will have reason to make us great in His kingdom to come.