About 99% of the time my blog is about my daily reading of the scripture and the application I take away. It is a personal journal that I share. I do this publicly primarily to help in my own accountability of staying consistent, but also because many of you have been liking and responding to these posts. Thank you by the way. It seems each week my followers grow and I love it when I have readers even in other countries.
Today however will be a different blog. With the build up to tonight and Sunday, the Holy Week of the Christian faith… I have had many conversations with myself and others, reminding me and them about what really matters as we head into this exciting and powerful weekend.
When I first became a Christian decades ago, I heard the phrase “Pray like it depends on God and work like it depends on you.” I’ve always had a problem with this phrase, two problems in fact. And all the work building up to this week-end has shed light on both of those problems.
The first part of the phrase is absolutely true. We should ALWAYS start with prayer and acknowledge that it actually DOES depend on God. But it’s the second part of the phrase that I have two problems with… ‘work like it depends on you’.
Problem 1 – Giving up. Most of us have at some point been involved with a project that just simply seemed impossible. If we really worked on that project as if all success of the project depended upon us, we would likely hit a point of giving up when all seems impossible. Only by remembering what Jesus said. “But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'” (Matt 19:26) can we remain focused on the seemingly impossible task. Yes, working like it depends on man, we will hit a point of believing it is impossible and give up, but remembering that it ACTUALLY depends on God, we will remember that all things are possible.
Problem 2 – Inflated self. This second problem is more subtle but even more dangerous. It is the danger of believe it all rests on your ability to get it done. A pastor recently shared that early in his career, he preached as if the very salvation of certain people in the audience hung on his ability to properly communicate the message. While this is a noble understanding to recognized the responsibility you have in the pulpit, it is an over inflated value of yourself to put all that on yourself… leaving no room for the Spirit. This is why this second problem is a serious problem for perfectionists. When you work like it depends on you, you place undue pressure on every tiny aspect of the job. Nothing seems good enough and in the end, you can stress yourself out. It is critical that we put excellence into our work, but it is just as critical that we remember that the Holy Spirit can work with our imperfections just as well as with our perfections.
In the end, the phrase should be the following. Pray like it depends on God and work like you believe it. If you truly believe the success of a thing is fully and totally up to God, and accept the fact that you are merely one of His tools to accomplish the thing, you will give excellence but not for the wrong purpose. Your excellence will now be because He deserves it, not because the perspective audience needs it to see Him.
So as we head into this week-end, preparing for visitors in our churches that may only grace our buildings once or twice a year… be mindful of them but be focused on Him. It is His Holy Spirit that calls them to Him and not our awesome programming or presentations.
I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.