Tags

, , ,

(c) Nuno Milheiro

(c) Nuno Milheiro

I often look to others and wish that I had some aspect or skill that they seem to possess in abundance.

 If only I had the faith of …

If only I could preach like …

If only I could lead like …

If only I had the courage of …

If only I could talk about Jesus in conversation as naturally as …

If only I had the insight into people like …

If only I knew how to care for people like …

If only I could talk to new people like …

 And there’s something good about this sort of self-reflection and striving to grow and improve. But at the same time this kind of reflection can be profoundly unhelpful and distracting. It can become ball-and-chain that slows you down. It can become a barrier that keeps you from stepping out and trying something because “someone else can do it better so why bother”. It can be a cause for ungratefulness as you focus on all the things that God isn’t “doing for you” rather than seeing all the things He’s doing in and through you.

 And, it might just be a subtle display of pride.

 But you might think, “Surely not. It’s not boasting in anything, it’s lamenting the personal lack of some skill or characteristic. How could it be pride?”

 Well, it might be pride because it may show that I think my impact for the Kingdom ultimately is up to me. “If only I had this, then I could do this for the Kingdom.” True, God does use my abilities to expand his Kingdom, but my abilities themselves apart from God don’t expand the Kingdom one little bit.

 C.H. Spurgeon, the great preacher and mega-church pastor before mega-churches were cool and controversial, is helpful here because he puts all this into perspective. (PS. “intercession” simply means prayer.)

 “Great talents you may never have, but you will do well enough without them if you abound in intercession.”

                           C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students

As I reflect on my own prayerfulness I’m not sure I could put the label “abounding” on it. And yet it’s much more important, and plays a much bigger role in the expansion of the Kingdom, than any gifts and skills I may or may not possess.

 But I wonder, if I say “If only I could pray like…” is that still pride?

Advertisements