Wednesday, October 7, 2009
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A lot of times when I'm introducing my younger son, I'll call him "my baby" which is a little ridiculous if you look at the two of us. The boy I used to pick up is now the man who picks me up. And that's pretty embarrassing. He will sometimes greet me at an airport or some public place, put his arms around me and lift me in the air. When I stand next to this moose in our family, I ask myself, "How did this child of mine ever get so much bigger than I am?" A while back, a disturbing thought occurred to me, maybe this isn't just about my son growing. Could it be that I'm shrinking? I'm sure I used to measure at least 5'8", but the doctor says I'm 5'7" now. Hello! Where did that inch go? Don't you dare tell me it went to my waist either. Actually, I understand as you keep having birthdays that your tissues and vertebrae begin to sort of scrunch together and you start to shrink. That is a pretty depressing thought when you don't have that much to start with in the first place! But shrinking as you get older may not be all bad.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Incredible Shrinking Me."
In a sense, I actually hope I'm shrinking as I get older in the way John the Baptist described when he was talking about his relationship with Jesus. In our word for today from the Word of God, John 3:30 he says, "He must become greater; I must become less." John's goal was to shrink. I think I understand that better now than I used to. John wanted his life and his work to involve an increasingly smaller percentage of him and a progressively larger percentage of Jesus. In the strange economics of discipleship, the less there is of you in what you do, the greater you become.
This is all especially difficult for those of us who want to be "make it happen" people. There are two lifelong battlefields where we wrestle with the Lord over the "me first" thing. One is the area of control. We don't mind giving the Lord time, or money, or service. We give Him loyalty and hard work. We'll give Him anything but control. I want to maintain control of the areas that really matter to me: maybe my career, or my family, my money. I want to control my ministry, or my image, my talent, my plans. For most of us, there is a major control issue that lets the control of Jesus Christ go only so far. And there can never be less of me and more of Jesus until that issue is settled, with my white flag. And maybe you've been through just enough pain, just enough humbling that you are ready to surrender what you have held tightly for so long and tried to control.
The other battlefield where our ego wrestles against the takeover of Jesus is the issue of credit. We really want the credit for what we do. We want to be noticed, appreciated, promoted, and admired. Recognition is important to us. But God has said, "I am the Lord; that is My name; I will not give My glory to another." We can't know the power of having Jesus really in charge until we are ready to say, "I don't care if my name's not on it. I don't care who knows. I am here to get people to think about You, Jesus, not me."
If you can surrender the control and the credit, you are ready for the incredible shrinking you. Our lives become more incredible than we could ever have imagined as our ego and our interests and our self-reliance begin to recede, and our lives become more about Jesus than ever before.
Frankly, I'm looking forward to the years ahead, and to shrinking more and more, so my life can be bigger than ever as I make more and more room for Jesus.