On Sunday we had a visiting minister at church, his name is Mark Smith and he is from Laurel Church of Christ in Knoxville, TN.
He was in town for a reunion at the college next door and I’m glad he came! His sermon filled me with what I needed to hear! Let me recap what he talked about. These are his thoughts, some are his words verbatim, and it’s my interpretation of his sermon.
Topic: Free to Serve
This is the most significant 24 hours in all of mankind and the disciples are arguing over who is most popular.
Who has the best PR? Who has the best image?
Who will sit at the right hand of Jesus?
We are not competing for Jesus’ love and affection.
If we want to help others we cannot simply PREACH the gospel. Hearing the gospel isn’t enough. We have to show others HOW the gospel works in our own lives.
WE. ARE. THE. MESSAGE.
He discussed how competition impacts our lives…
Competition limits our potential.
We are not the standard.
When we compete with each other we make MAN the standard and we forget that GOD is the standard.
His example (there were MANY sports analogies and it’s ok because I think he was excited for the camaraderie with his fellow Michigan fans since he now lives in Tennessee Vols territory).
His example was this: ”I am a great basketball player”.
“I am a great basketball player… when compared to my wife”.
When we compare ourselves to someone lesser we have no motivation to improve.
If he compares himself to college basketball stars then he has no motivation to START.
Romans 12: 6-8 (Laura’s Note… this verse is God’s voice with the Nike Ad saying… “Just Do It Already! I made you awesome… go BE awesome!”)
Reach your potential in accordance with your faith.
Reach YOUR potential.
Pastor Mike reminded us that Competition taints our accomplishments (Laura: Oh I am SO guilty of this).
We play down our accomplishments because it isn’t “that big” compared to _____. (SO me!)
He reminded us that in Luke 15: 7, 10 that Heaven rejoiced over ONE person coming home to God. They threw a HUGE party for ONE. (He basically was reminding me that I am enough. It’s that simple. I am enough.)
We have to do OUR best even if we are barely holding it together.
Competition cheapens our attitudes.
Winners gloat. Losers are hypercritical and start fault-finding.
(This is where my notes get personal. I scribbled my own personal struggles on paper. I started doing some market research for this blog and I felt inferior, like I could never get to “that” successful point, that I’m not important enough, why do I matter when everyone else has it all figured out… and that is when the light bulb came on. It’s the hinge moment that made me remember that it doesn’t matter. I only have to help ONE person. I only have to do MY best. There are no losers and this isn’t a game.
I’m glad I started listening intently again because what he said next was most important to this creative-brained, logic-trained engineer who loves people.)
He said: Competition distorts our values.
It makes our values superficial. We focus on measurables. We forget character, compassion, and spiritual maturity.
The real competition is how Christ-like can we be?
See who can SERVE the most.
See who can SACRIFICE the most.
See who can LOVE the most.
See who can FORGIVE the most.
See who can SHARE the most.
The anti-dote to competition is to JUST SERVE.
We want God to say “That person GETS it.” The greatest Christian is the one who is seldom noticed, seldom praised, and the one who has learned how to serve from their heart. (Ever ask yourself what does it matter? nobody cares anyways? )
Our call to action was to: Never be ashamed to SERVE. And to Serve, not because you have it all figured out but because you love Jesus.
At the end of all of this I realized that I need to Be Me.
Be MY Best and that is ENOUGH.
If you want to listen to the audio you can listen to it here…let me know if you find an inspiration that is a little different than mine.