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Carl Johnston

Why it’s never all about you

God often uses moments in life to remind you that no matter how good you think you are, it’s not all about you, explains Carl Johnston

The Apostle Paul in Philippians 2:3-4 tells us, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.”

Valuing others as better than ourselves means coming to a deep understanding that our lives are not all about us. As we walk with humility serving others, we discover that God connects us to something much bigger than ourselves.

As a pastor I want to see his Church full of people who know with confidence they have identity and purpose in Jesus Christ, an environment where life, calling and dreams are spoken, and a culture where people are mutually built up, encouraged and empowered to go after their God-given purpose.

However, if we’re not careful the Church can all too easily become a place where the culture leads people to develop an inward focus, and ultimately an ‘all-aboutme’ attitude. No passion in our life should be larger than our foundational passion to love, serve and be obedient to Jesus. The nature of pastoral ministry means you meet a lot of people who have particular passions and specific ideas of how those passions should be facilitated within the four walls of the local church.

Sadly, on occasion you meet those who are more passionate about their own ideas than they are about serving Jesus. All the time, we need to keep in mind that our purpose in Christ is bigger than our passion for a particular ministry or idea. Both are good, but one serves the other. If we get this the wrong way round we will limit what God can do through us.

To serve, our hearts need to become more about Jesus and less about us. Jesus consistently modelled humility and lived with an attitude that preferred others. If we want to develop into mature leaders, mothers and fathers who reflect the Father’s heart, then we must allow him to put us in situations that teach us again and again that ‘it’s not all about me’.

Each year I serve at a great event called Rivercamp. A few years back it was a real privilege for me to be able to speak on the opening night.

I came down off the stage feeling tenfeet tall. I felt like I had delivered one of my best sermons; it was probably mediocre at best but I felt good. Immediately afterwards, someone wanted to speak to me, and in my mind they wanted to follow on from what I spoke about and how much my sermon had impacted them. However, when I asked how I could help, without any hesitation they informed me that the main shower units were blocked and they would appreciate me doing something about it.

If I’m honest, I didn’t know how to respond and, as much as I don’t enjoy such humbling experiences, I think the Lord of ten uses these moments in life to remind us, no mat ter how good we think we are or how well we think we do, it’s not all about us. These moments not only help keep us grounded, but if we allow them to they will reveal something of the Father’s heart and keep us fixed on the greater purpose he’s bringing about.

We must ask ourselves, how well do we serve others and how are we stewarding what God has blessed us with? God’s calling on your life is way bigger than your passion for something and your ability to deliver it. His calling goes way beyond this life and into eternity.

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