Goodness, the longer I walk with Christ the more wretched I become. As our relationship grows more intimate, I seem to grow more selfish. How can this be? Shouldn’t I be more like my Savior every day? Shouldn’t I begin to bear His image, to walk as He walked? I want to offer you and myself an excuse. I would love to say that as I become more keenly aware of Christ’s perfect love and goodness, I also become more attentive to my own deficiencies, selfish ambitions, and sinful desires. And there may be some truth to that. Even so, there is no excusable reason for these thoughts and intents of my heart.
You see, lately I grow frustrated with baby Christians stepping up into ministries and godly areas I have strived so hard to serve in. I consider the numerous classes I’ve taken, bible studies I’ve participated in, groups I’ve been a part of, and just the little things I do regularly between only me and my Lord and I think, "What about me?." I observe these brand new believers receiving great opportunity in ministry, honor, glory, and a name for themselves. As if I were brother to the prodigal son, I cry out pridefully, "look, these many years I have been serving You; I never transgressed Your commandment at any time; and yet You never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of Yours came, who has devoured Your livelihood with harlots, You kill the fatted calf for him” (Lk 15:29-30). Let’s get one thing straight- I do not want a young goat or a fatted calf. However, I would be happily content with a clear, effective ministry, or some acknowledgement regarding the countless acts of service I have performed. Is this too much to ask for?
I am such an example of the vineyard workers complaining against the landowner after receiving a day’s wage, “These last men have worked only one hour, and you made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the heat of day” (Matt 20:12). Lord, it’s just not fair! It’s simply not done this way! How can you forget about all I’ve done? What about me?
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saves us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit. –Titus 3:5
And then I am reminded of the thief on the cross. Even having reviled and mocked Jesus, our perfect Lord forgave this man, offering him salvation in the last moments of his life (Matt 27:44, Lk 23:39-43)). This thief reigns with Christ in Heaven today. This thief received Mercy and Grace from a dying Savior. I must understand this! The thief, after mocking Jesus Christ was granted Mercy (not receiving what he deserves ) and Grace (receiving what he don’t deserve). Rather than life separated from Christ for eternity, as I deserve, He has offered me something I could never earn, something I do not deserve, payment for my sins and eternity with Him. Mercy and Grace!
So with this difficult correcting from the Lord, with this revealing of my heart's selfish desire, comes thankfulness in that whom He loves He also chastens (Heb 12:5-6). I will receive this correction and most of all, I will receive this love. Rather than ask what about me I seek to ask what about Him?