“If you don’t stick to your values when they are being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.” (Jon Stewart)
What if . . .?
What if you faded into obscurity, away from the public eye, your accomplishments dissolving like ocean waves washing away the masterpiece you spent hours scratching into the sand?
What if you were never called upon to speak to young people, never heard someone mention your name as a valuable asset to the church body, never chosen to serve in leadership?
What if the years you invested in exercising wisdom and refraining from voicing your frustrations for the greater purpose were packed into a box and tucked into the back of the closet of time--and you wonder if the effort was worth it?
What if your value felt diminished and your purpose seemed nonexistent? What would motivate you to go on? What would you strive for then?
Could you . . .?
Could you still stand on the frontline, cheering for others--a nameless face in the crowd--with as much enthusiasm as a die-hard fan at a sports event? Would your prayers for those in the limelight remain sincere and untainted? And, even though you seal your lips from asking, would your heart still scream out, “Why not me?”
Could you give–again and again–and sacrifice time and resources at the risk of opening old wounds and exposing yourself to bitterness and disgruntlement? Could you resist the temptation of giving in to those risks?
Could you rejoice with your brother or sister if the waters of Bethesda (John 5) were troubled for everyone else while you were forced to live with your infirmity day in and day out?
What if . . . Could you?
We must prepare our hearts for the unexpected. Maintain our integrity in the face of adversity. Be steadfast even when the bend in the road leads you to places you don’t want to go.
We are not called to serve God to spend our time drawing attention to ourselves, parading our talents before the church body, collecting trophies of praise and recognition.
Serving God means serving mankind. It often involves thankless hours of vacuuming candy wrappers off the floor after service, washing dishes after a luncheon, decorating posters for outreach, being the last to linger at the altar with a troubled soul, and a thousand other things that feel like they don’t matter but absolutely DO matter.
You serve because you love God.
You press on because you made a commitment.
You stick with it because integrity with God is greater than idolization from others.
God sees. God knows. And that, my friend, is all that matters.
“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” (C. S. Lewis)
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