Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Importance of Being Honest

(Perhaps the title will make sense as you read)

This (school) year, I have been spending one afternoon a week with other people's rather undisciplined children. It's something of an after-school program put on by my church where we hang out with the kids and talk to them about Jesus. That's the gist of it anyway.

So anyway, I was sitting on the floor during worship, which was sort of a pain on this particular day. A fifth-grade girl was going through a fifth-grade girl sort of drama, which meant that her friends gathered around to hear her woes. About 25% percent of the group was singing along or remotely focused on the hand motions. The rest were running to the bathroom one more time, laughing about how childish it is to do hand motions (we all go through that stage, I think), or joined in the little circle of drama.

I rolled my eyes. Inwardly of course... I guess it's more acceptable to do it inwardly.

And then it came. That little thought.

At first the thought was my own, something like: "WHY WILL THESE CHILDREN NOT PAY ATTENTION?????"

And very shortly after that, possibly interrupting that thought, I realized that so, so often, I am JUST like that. (but I should know better)

I'm there, at church or during my quiet time, but then I get distracted. It's a little thing: an item to add to the grocery list, a forgotten sock on the floor to put away, a completely different thought altogether that has me reading words on a  page but so lost in my own thought that I have no comprehension.

Whatever that thing is, I realized that very often...
Okay,  I would venture to say all the time, my focus is anywhere but where it should be. And that should is on Jesus, on the gospel, on the things of God.

For all my good intentions, all my opinions on what people should be doing or how they should behave during an after school program for children, I fail to hold myself to the same standard. I fail to practice what I preach. I fail to judge myself as I've judged others.

"Oops!" isn't exactly the thing to say here. I'm uncertain as to what SHOULD be said. Something profound, I guess. Something to make you say, "Hmmmm" as if you're deep in thought and deeply convicted.

I can't come up with something to meet that criteria, so I'll just say this:

1. I pray that you, the person reading this, are able to look at my failure to focus on Christ as I ought and think "Whew! I need to stop and see if I'm doing the same thing", because I don't want you to find yourself guilty of putting things (even tiny ones) in front of Him. I pray that you are HONEST before the Lord in this. 
2. I hope that you are encouraged that you aren't the only one. 
3. I ask that you will pray for me and for your fellow believers, that we remain focused in our walks. 
4. And finally, please (please please please) do pray for those kids. Yes, they can be frustrating. But they come from some rotten home backgrounds. Most of them have unsaved parents and don't know Jesus themselves. Pray that they would know Him through this little ministry thing once a week and for the families they return to each day. Pray for the leaders, that we would be understanding and patient and loving, presenting Christ to them as a pleasant aroma.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? (II Corinthians 2:14-16)

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