Yesterday, I got a big dose of perspective. I didn’t know I needed the medicine, but it did start helping me heal.
It came when I had a chance to study some of the most beautiful literature ever penned with some friends. The author wrote to a highly gifted community that was prone to showing off or being overly critical, and wanted to show them a better way. In his words, it was “the most excellent way.” (Though not in a Bill & Ted kind of way…)
He said that no matter how gifted you might be, even if you’re able to comprehend more than a Nobel Prize Laureate, or if you’re able to write Pulitzer-prize winning novels, or if you’ve spent your life eradicating malaria from the world or found a cure for AIDS, or perhaps you’ve directed the movie that gives meaning to all existence for all who call earth home — if you’re able to do all these things, but do not have love, then you don’t have an iota. Zilch. Nothing.
See, if I’m honest, I want people to know me by my gifts, my strengths, by what I have to offer. But in the quest for competence, I think I’ve become more jaded. It’s too easy to question other people’s motives when they rise to the top. It’s far too easy to pick and find the one glaring flaw that disqualifies the best they bring. Being brutally frank, if I really want to shine, I can’t have others shining more brightly.
But I don’t want to be that person. That same piece of literature said that love “believes all things.” I want to believe all things. I want to look every person in the eye, and with all my heart tell them how much I believe in them. I want to trust and hope in the best that everyone has to bring, and believe in the future. I want hope to drown out the notes of cynicism that have come in and tainted the music. Hope, belief and trust are finer melodies.
I know, a bit cheezy. Perhaps too idealistic or romantic. But then again, perhaps it’s not a bad way to live after all.
I like to think that its never too idealistic or romantic, but very possible.
Thanks for the thoughts today James. I am a sucker for the cheesy Stuff. But theres nothing cheesy about REAL LOVE.
Good medicine for all of us who are self-interested. Henri Nouwen says that the mystery of ministry is that God uses our limited and conditional love as the gateway for his very unlimited and unconditional love. Amazing. Let it flow.
All of us are pretty full of ourselves. Some more than others.
Good to hear of your progress.
james. thanks for articulating my same struggle at ccfc right now. i am praying for the peace of mind to be comfortable “behind the scenes”, to do the non-glamorous work, to disciple one or two guys… that is about all i have in me these days. with love, tell your wife hello from us