Man, did this one hit home with me recently. I’m a list guy. Grocery lists, to do lists and I even have a list of goals. One of my long term goals has been to become registrar. When the job became available, I applied immediately. Who could possibly be more qualified than me? I was sure I would get the job. Sure to the point that I was talking to my wife about what we might do with the extra income. Well, as you have probably already guessed, I was in for a lesson in humility.
What? You have got to be kidding! I didn’t get the job? This is so unfair! There’s an old J G Wentworth commercial where the refrain is, “I only want what I deserve, I only want what I have coming to me”. I used to cringe when I would hear that commercial and here I was singing that exact same tune. When I stop and think about it, I really don’t want what I deserve. Even when I think I’m seeking God’s will, sometimes the world sneaks its values in on me. One of the things that surprised me was how many people offered condolences. I didn’t realize so many people were watching. The fact that they cared how I felt was both encouraging and humbling.
A thought came to me. Can I be thankful to God in defeats and disappointments as well as victories and joys? Can I give thanks for a failure? Can anything good come from this?
The parable of the rich fool presents a question for me. What matters to God? Does God care about my job title? Money? No. Well, then what does God care about?
Last night my wife and I hosted a pre-meet dinner for the high school cross country team. One son is the coach and one son is a runner on the team. A spaghetti dinner (lots of carbohydrates) and then simply relax. A beautiful evening with a wonderful group of young men and women. Sitting around a campfire, watching the stars, talking and enjoying the glow after a simple meal.
As we talked, I thought, it isn’t easy being a teenager growing up in the world today. Peer pressures. High demands and expectations. It seems more adult skills are needed, yet it seems fewer adult skills are modeled.
As I watched the fire and listened to the voices around me, I thought, what a gift to be with these young people. This is what matters to God. How we relate to God and how we relate to each other. It’s funny. What the world values is so different from what matters to God.
I thought about God’s promise to Abraham. All the stars in the sky and the generations to come. And Abraham believed. How would my life change if I really (and I mean really) believed that God is able to do what He has promised?
My prayer today is for those of us struggling with disappointment and trying to discern what matters to God.
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