Because it’s always good to remember how small we are, so we can embrace how big our God is.
I declared Business Marketing as my major the first day of my freshman year of college. Everything about marketing was exciting and intriguing to me. I’m a highly relational person, so I wanted to do something, vocation-wise, that was about and for people in one way or another.
Marketing also poses the constant challenge of innovation and creativity. Even though, one of the often overlooked facts about it is,”less really is more.” Simplicity is overrated in the business of marketing because at the end of the day, there is nothing sexy about simplicity. And if whatever it is that you are selling is really that simple, the average consumer could probably find a way to make it on their own, thereby making your business obsolete. It’s a delicate balance between making something seem new and necessary and not over-complicating it.
I was out walking the other day when I passed by an apartment complex that I almost lived in. As I walked by, I had the most vivid memory of walking into the leasing office and speaking with one of the managers this time last year.
She was young, not dressed for her role as a professional. Distracted by her text messages. She was somewhat short in her tone with me and neither eloquent or very knowledgable about what it was she was entrusted to sell. She didn’t represent her employer well. She didn’t know much about marketing either because marketing isn’t about you, it’s about getting to know what your customer wants, understanding what they are looking for, and helping them to see that what they need is what you have to offer; making your product applicable to them, no matter what their circumstances.
As I reached the end of the block, it dawned on me– we’re all in marketing. We are all representatives of God. Through the lives we lead, we are all either making Him known to those who don’t know Him or making Him undesirable to those who do.
Perhaps it is because we are not dressed well, throwing on old shirts of impatience and bitterness instead of robes of peace and grace. Perhaps we are distracted by lesser things, like ourselves, instead of remaining focused and on task. Perhaps we are not well versed, not just in biblical verses, but by the voice of God and so do not speak as He would. What I think is the most tragic case is this– perhaps we are not genuinely interested in another soul’s eternal well being. Perhaps we have grown comfortable keeping relationships at a safe distance so as to ward off hardships, tough questions, or potentially hurtful situations. We do not want to bear one another burdens because it’s not fun or easy.
But here’s the thing– to ignore onlookers, to brush off those looking for purpose, life, peace, freedom, and hope is to be in direct opposition to what we have been called to as believers. We have been called to make much of Christ. We are intrinsically and uniquely designed to worship Him. We were made to adore and love Him. We were intended to bow, in reverent fear and awe, at the foot of His throne because He is worthy of all that we are and everything that we have.
I was listening to a sermon the other day and something that this pastor said really shook me up. In talking about God’s sovereignty, he said this: “We all will glorify God, whether we are recipients of His grace or objects of His wrath, He will be glorified because He is good and merciful and because He is just and holy.”
God’s will will be done, no matter if you choose willingly to be a part of it or not, He will use you to bring glory to Himself. As I was driving back to my apartment today, which is coincidently about a stone’s throw away from the other one, I found myself thinking “How tragic would it be to be used of God to show His supreme justice and never see His glory; to have been a part of a divine and eternal tapestry who’s pattern you would never know.”
I went to the gym tonight for the first time in a week… I rarely go 24 hrs without going to the gym. But a month ago I found out I had mono and so I have been struggling to get my eyes open every morning. I haven’t had the energy to do much else besides breath and move from my bed to the couch.
Now I know what you are thinking: “Isn’t that the kissing disease?” Technically, you can get it from kissing, or you can get from any number of other things. So no, I didn’t get it from kissing anyone. I have kept my lips to myself, thank you very much. Although I will go ahead and admit that I would prefer saying that I did get it from kissing someone because it’s makes for a better story than not. That’s neither here nor there. Moving on.
While walking (at the pace of a sloth) on the treadmill tonight, I was listening to a sermon, as usual, by Matt Chandler who is the pastor of the Village Church in Dallas, TX. The sermon that I landed on this evening was called “A Theology of Struggle,” and if you have read any of my earliest post, you know that is not only something I write on often, but something that I tend to dive into instead of run away from.
Tonight’s sermon hit on the some new thoughts that I had not yet arrived at myself and I felt compelled to write them here for… because… because it’s a blog and that’ what you do.
I won’t attempt to “re-preach” to you–I don’t want to dilute it. So here are my notes… take from it what you will.
1. The wrong way to struggle is to operate in guilt:
- The wrong motivation is to respond to it by “white-knuckling it,” to work harder, strive more, to perfect your imperfections thru your flesh.
- In so doing, you mock the crucifixion of Christ and His free gift of grace thru faith. And going down this road only leads you away from the Lord.
- Result-religious repentance (self righteousness): you will not be any better spiritually than the sinners that you despise OR you will accumulate worldly sorrow
2. The right way to struggle:
- To struggle with temptation, sometimes falling, but moving still in the right direction
- Temptation is not a sin; it is part of life in a fallen world. It is not going anywhere this side of heaven.
- Be encouraged by the Word: 1 Corinthians 10:13- “no temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man.”
- The beauty of the body of Christ is that we can look to others who have victoriously walked thru the same circumstance and allow their testimony to empower and encourage us to walk thru with confidence.
- To struggle well is long lasting obedience in the midst of the pressure of refinement.
- In this position, we can more clearly see our depravity and His grandeur; His grace to save us, love to cover us.
- The right motivation is not thru trying harder; it is thru allowing someone to show you different. It is allowing yourself to be shown a new way thru slow and steady teaching, instruction and demonstration. It is discipleship.
- The greek word is “gymnatsia” translated SWEAT.
3. End result- TRANSFORMED lives.
- There is no contradiction between “grace thru faith” and “faith without works is dead.” They are compatible. They do reflect one another.
Perhaps it doesn’t make sense to you, although my prayer is that it will apply personally and deeply. If you would like to listen to the sermon, look up “The Village Church” on iTunes.