After a week’s vacation I learned a valuable lesson. Several lessons, actually. One, I try to hit too many impossible golf shots. A 175-yard, corner-cutting 7-iron over a ravine with towering oaks is not wise, especially with a new ball. Two, I am fat and offend God with my lack of self control. Two barbecue sandwiches for lunch followed by a sackful of Krystal burgers for supper is not wise (for you Yanks, Krystal is the Rebel version of White Castle).
And perhaps the most valuable lesson I learned on vacation was this: I am an extremely prideful man. This is no shock to most of you. It is always the prideful person who is the last to realize he is such. Thank you for your patience while I summarize my pride with the following statements and commentary.
I always want to be the one who says the right thing at the right time. If it’s a theological discussion I insist on being the profound one. If it’s a humorous conversation I insist on being the witty one. If it’s a sorrowful conversation I insist on being the encouraging one.
The unwholesome word we guard against is not necessarily a four-letter insult (Eph 4.29). It’s whatever is not beneficial to edify others. If I’m not talking to ‘give grace to those who hear’ then I’m blabbering unwholesomeness for the sake of edifying myself. I’m not so sure this blog helps alleviate this plague, either.
I feign humility in order feed my ego. Even self-deprecation centers on self! Drawing undue attention to myself in any context necessarily draws attention away from God. Even foolishness finds its end in God’s glory and wisdom (1 Cor 1.18-31). Again, I wonder whose purpose this blog serves.
I always want it to appear that I love Jesus more than I do. Here goes: I do not pray as much as I want others to think I pray. I do not delight in Scripture as much as I convince otherwise. I do not love people as much as I want them to think I love them. I do not care as much as I want people to think I care. There, I said it. God have mercy.
I constantly seek to be impressive. I loathe (or at least want you to think I loathe) this insatiable desire to be impressive to people. Jesus was right. Losing your life in this world is the only way to find it. The more I strive to make a name for myself the more of myself I seem to lose. Note to self: I’m just a small, country church pastor who is as ordinary and sinful as they come. Get used to it so that you can truly live in God’s pleasure.
Well, there you go. Apparently, there was much more dirty laundry than we packed in our suitcase. Pass the hot sauce.
4 thoughts on “What I Learned on Vacation”
Dear Brother Barry,
I am afraid I am cut from that same cloth. Perhaps we are both human beings?
Love in Christ,
I just wanted to drop you a note and thank you for the last couple of posts. You have a way of writing my sins verbatim in your confessions. I was thinking this morning: I wish my sins were not so real. I wish they were just conceptual and I could talk about them as ideas or notions. Maybe then I could preach against them without the knowledge that they are constantly crouching at my door. O the depths of my depravity. Yet, my rebellion and wickedness only highlight the abundant grace of our God. Indeed we serve a faithful Savior. Thanks again for your thoughts!! Take care brother,
No, thank you, brother. Sin is always easier in the 3rd person. But, sin has names and feelings and expressions. Thanks be to God that redemption does as well–Jesus of Nazareth!
Actually though, I must confess something. I have wiretapped your office and have been trying to find a way to speak of your sins in a non-evasive way. It was Glenna’s idea. I hope it helped.
We are cut from the same cloth. We both wear size ‘Adam,’ where one size fits all. Jesus fits quite nicely, though!