It's no wonder many of us travel through life feeling overwhelmed by our circumstances. We move from one crisis to the next hanging on by a thread. Our emotions shift from sadness to exhaustion to depression to fear. We'll cling to a friend's advice. We'll grab the self-help book off of the shelf. We may even venture to church on the occasional Sunday desperate to hear a hopeful message. We're always surprised when we forget the advice of our friend, disappointed when the methods in our self-help book do all but deliver. And that warm fuzzy feeling that came over us in Sunday morning church quickly fades sometimes before we even make it to the car in the parking lot as we exit the church building.
What if I told you I had a remedy? What if I told you I had the answer to overcoming sadness, conquering fear, finding true joy and peace? Would you listen? Better yet, would you do what I suggest? What if I told you that if you would only do what I recommend, then it is quite possible that you will find purpose in life? That you might even make some new friends along the way? That what I suggest you do might even change who you are for the better? Are you convinced? Have I peaked your interest enough?
Here is my recommendation. In order to have purpose, to experience true joy, to overcome obstacles such as sadness, fear and depression, simply...
That's it. Figure out a way to forget about yourself and put the needs of others ahead of your own. Love people especially the ones who are hard to love. They need it the most. Look around you. What needs to be done? Who needs help? What about those who try to act like they have it all together but you suspect they need love and friendship more than they know? Who is going through a hard time around you? Is someone ill? Has someone lost a loved one? Do you have a lonely neighbor, co-worker or family member? Is there someone in your life with whom you haven't spoken? Would you consider reconciliation?
Jesus didn't spend very many years walking among humans. On His resurrection day, he was merely 33-years-old. Most every minute of His time on planet Earth was taken up with serving others. And in the very few moments we read about in the Bible where He does experience real human emotions - fear (Gethsemane), pain (Calvary), betrayal (Passover) - He always went to the Father in prayer. Always. Every time.
Let me ask you. Have you prayed about it as much as you've talked about it? As much as you've cried about it? As much as you've raged about it?
Let me also ask you. When was the last time you did something for someone other than yourself? And while I have your attention let me offer you a piece of reality. If you wait to serve others until you actually feel like it, you will never do it. Ministry is not about feelings. It's messy. It's rocky. It's scary. It's risky. But it's what was modeled for us through Jesus Christ. Jesus didn't just show up for ministry on Sunday mornings wearing His finest suit with a box of donuts in hand. He didn't stand at the coffee maker with a smile on His face asking everyone how their work week went. He didn't attend a Sunday School class or pass an offering plate or play the organ or count the offering.
NO! His feet were dirty from all His travels. His legs were weary as He walked from one town to the next healing, preaching, and serving. His friends were few but they were dear. His enemies were many only because Truth hurts. He was hated. He was loved. He was mocked. He was embraced. He was betrayed. He was beaten. He was even murdered. But, He is risen!
Don't make His time on this planet and the lessons He taught humankind and the sacrifice He made on the cross all be for nothing. As you celebrate Easter this week, be reminded of what Christ did for you. Why? Because He loves you. And He needs others to know of His love, as well. Which brings me back to the original purpose of this post. How will others know? How will you come to experience it for yourself?