Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Valued Enough?

“Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” (Luke 12:24, NIV 2011).

I was seeing patients in my exam room when one of my partners came over and told me that an old patient of mine would like to see me. I had moved away some years ago for professional reasons and left Sharon in my partner’s care. Sharon had been one of the few who had been cured of widely metastatic breast cancer when I treated her with high dose chemotherapy and autologous marrow transplant, a treatment that is no longer accepted as being effective in breast cancer patients. She was delighted to see me, and I her. She asked that my partner’s nurse take a picture of the three of us. As we stood together for the picture, Sharon said to both of us, “I owe you my life.” My partner nodded toward me and said, “You owe him your life,” and then corrected himself, “No, you owe the One above for your life.”

One of the real holdouts of sin in my life is my desire to influence people, to be important in their lives, in good ways. There is much love involved in these influential actions but underlying it all is a core of self-centeredness.
And it’s not just simply pride. My desire to influence people is not so much that they might be pleased with me but that I might be pleased with myself. Almost always, I seek good for those I want to influence without needing their praise. It is not pride that moves me toward influence but a desire for personal value. I want to know that I am of use in this life to God and humanity.
For me, this need to know is wrong. As a follower of Christ, my supposition that I influence lives for good takes the glory from God who produces the good through me. I am stealing His glory when I seek to be the one of influence. And, as a side effect, this desire for value lets envy sneak into my life as I see others doing great things. It diminishes my ability to rejoice with them in God’s great work through their lives.
This is sin and this is foolish.
It is a sin because it is stealing God’s glory, and it is foolish because there is no way I can imagine for myself more value than that which Jesus has already proven to me on the cross. I am reminded again of the deep truth in these words from William Sloan Coffin: “God’s love does not seek value; it creates it. It is not because we have value that we are loved; it is because we are loved that we have value.”

Dear Father,
Let me rest in the limitless value you have placed on me through your love.

No comments:

Post a Comment