Am I Part of the Cancer or the Healing?
I always start my day with coffee, and reading something spiritually meaningful. From there, some days I write something God has put on my mind. It can be my Friday Blog (www.mannasplace.wordpress.com) or a note to someone the Holy Spirit puts on my mind.
In Ann Voskamp’s book, “The Broken Way”, she talks about how we have come to believe that we need bucket lists to make life more meaningful. Of course, bucket lists can be fun and make wonderful memories, once fulfilled.
In the meantime, what are we doing with our days…the ones that add up to our lives? Are we seeking to fulfill our own longings while possibly missing the needs of others God has put in our sphere of influence?
Have we yet realized that to be fulfilled…to truly live…to find joy…is to give of ourselves even in the smallest of ways?
She tells how she sat in the doctor’s office next to an older lady who quietly mentioned that she had cancer, “My doctor said that in our human bodies, the cells that only benefit themselves are known as cancer.”
Ann reworded it this way: “Cancer is what refuses to die to self”.
We live in a society that constantly feeds our desire for prosperity and self-satisfaction. A pastor used to put it this way: “Get what you can…can all you get…sit on the lid …and poison the rest”.
Even in the lives of believers…selfishness or self-protection sneaks in. Why? Because, on some level, we have believed the lie that to be satisfied is to protect ourselves…close off and “hold on to what is rightfully mine”. It is my “right” to lay out my life in a way that (I have been led to believe) is going to be the best for me and mine. Let others do that for themselves, while we do it for us!
In God’s upside down economy (which is really right side up)…He tells us the opposite.
We are meant for relationships…community. We are created to open up to others…to give.
Paradoxically…giving ourselves away brings us joy and healing and purpose. As only God would have it, as we reach out… we help the hurting friend, the empty one, to feel worthy through even the smallest of acts. Maybe just a smile, or a small conversation. Maybe just to “be”…truly be with your spouse, child or parent for an afternoon. A meal for a family who needs a lift. A plate of cookies to someone who is hurting. In the process…Christ is glorified.
Small acts of kindness…of God’s love…take intentionality, but are not necessarily complex or hard. Yet, with those small acts, the cancer is weakened…the lives of the giver and receiver begin healing and opening up, if even just a little.
We will begin to discover that when we give ourselves away… we are not diminished. Instead, we gain a deep and abiding joy…a sense of why we are truly here.
Finally! We see the truth and feel the thrill of our purpose.
It is a trinity of sorts:
- Our lives touch the lives of others who desperately need a lift, no matter how tiny the act…
- In the process, we gain the joy and purpose we have so badly needed…
- The eyes of those in our sphere are opened to a more selfless life…and so…we bring glory to His Name.
How simple…what fun…what present and eternal value!
Philippians 2:1-8 (ESV) 1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.