11 Aug Mentoring || Leaving Margin for Mercy
For at least a month, store aisles have been stocked with yellow boxes of crayons, rulers and scissors in every color, and backpacks in every shape and size. Family calendars are becoming more structured; the unavoidable is happening. Once again, it’s time for school.
Regardless of whether or not you have kids in school, your life is affected by this change of pace. (And, either way, you’ll probably be taking advantage of the back to school sales.) Amidst all of the changes that come with shifting seasons, we find ourselves scurrying about, hurriedly trying to get our worlds back in order. We make plans, set goals, and breath a sigh of relief for the structured busyness we can see just over the horizon.
The return to our schedules places before us a dangerous pitfall. It’s all to easy to fill up our lives with a myriad of commitments- meaningful or otherwise- and to leave little margin for other people. In fact, without intentional movement in the opposite direction, we will indeed fill up our lives, and the lives of our families, with so many activities and events that we’ll hardly have time to complete them all.
It’s all too easy to fill up our lives with a myriad of commitments- meaningful or otherwise-
and to leave little margin for other people.
The danger in all of this is that we humans have always tended to place ourselves in the center of the universe. From the beginning of time, we have looked around us for those things we could control, reached out, and held on for dear life. We’re too easily deceived by these tiny things we think we can control; we’re deceived into living like we are gods orchestrating some small corner of the universe.
Reality becomes clear to us in the moments when we stop long enough to look up and look out. Lives filled to capacity can be an indicator that we have once again let our god-complexes take control, and we have forgotten the brevity of our lives and the holiness of our God. We need daily reminders that there is a God who is over all.
Lives filled to capacity can be an indicator that
we have once again let our god-complexes take control.
A.W. Tozer would say to us: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us…Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.” When we choose to regularly pursue a deeper knowledge of God, our view of the world begins to change. Our thinking broadens from the narrowness of our own lives; our priorities become shaped by the work that God is doing in this world. We see our lives as a small marker in the ongoing story- a story that belongs to God and not to us.
When we are thinking rightly about God, we then have the freedom to begin thinking rightly about those around us. We move from our self-consumption because we realize that we are all a part of this narrative. Instead of viewing people as a commodity or an event to be scheduled, we see each of us as creatures made in the image of God. We are freed to “count others more significant than [our]selves.” (Philippians 2:3)
When we are thinking rightly about God, we then have the freedom
to begin thinking rightly about those around us.
And yet, regardless of good-hearted desires for a lifestyle centered around serving others, we must admit to ourselves it won’t be something that happens through our free time. Once we have allowed our thinking to be shaped, our actions must change. We must move intentionally towards other people.
This means changing our schedules, our budgets, our priorities. It looks like leaving weeknights free so that you can invite your co-worker over for dinner when it’s been a hard day in the office. It’s taking a walk through the neighborhood and stopping to talk with those you pass.
Hospitality and mercy are intended to characterize those who love and know Christ. We choose to steward our lives well when we offer ourselves to others as a resource, as a place of safety and rest.
For any number of reasons, children in our city need us
to be willing to extend ourselves for them in hospitality and mercy.
This fall, you will be hearing across many of our campuses about opportunities for mentoring. For any number of reasons, children in our city need us to be willing to extend ourselves for them in hospitality and mercy. We can bring them into a relationship that offers safety, freedom, and rest. Isn’t this what our benevolent God has done for us?
May we be willing to leave margin in our lives this coming school year. Will you position yourself so that you have the time to be a blessing to others?