Automatically, my eyes snapped to attention. "I can't ignore him," I thought as he lined out the areas of perspective, priorities and personal choices. When he read those, my mind focused on food and family--few hints of God in very many of those places for me. "I know I need to hear this, but things are hard now. When things aren't so difficult, I'll be more focused on worship and more dedicated to seeking God. He'll get to that part of the sermon."
He never got to that part of the sermon, ya'll. I might be going out on a limb here, but I'm pretty sure that part of the sermon never existed.
After the service, Favorite and I caught PastorJosh and his family at a restaurant. We told him that it was a difficult sermon to hear, but one we felt really spoke to some issues in our own lives. PastorJosh looked at the ground and said, "I don't have this part figured out either. I get really busy and let myself get distracted."
His admission is humbling and encouraging--not because he screws up, but because he knows that we're all on equal playing ground. None better. None worse. "But for the grace of God go I" sort of thinking.
I think God is really speaking to me about judgment and pretentious behavior. Were it not for Him? My life would be a walking testament to bad decisions and worse priorities. More education, more money, bigger houses, better cars, popularity--those things don't change who or what we are: sinners gifted grace.
I don't want to forget who I am in the improvement process. Losing weight, getting pregnant, building a house or buying a nicer car won't change God, and ultimately, those things really only change my outside appearance, and, sometimes, the way others view me. But for real change to take place, I need perspective: Allowing God to become more instead of less even as I seek solutions to issues I'm facing. I need to spend less time on me, me, me.
(Speaking of spending less time focusing on self, head over here and read one girl's adventures in reducing her selfishness by challenging herself to a weekly random act of kindness. I love that it encompasses everything PastorJosh told us on Sunday about perspective, priorities and personal choices.)