Thursday, June 6, 2013

Weekly Writes: RnR [An Eternal Perspective on Coffee Filters]

I recently decided to do weekly writes, where each week I'll write about prayer requests, Nebraska Bloggers Connect, reflect on what I'm reading, and shout outs to things I enjoy or like. Today is an RnR (Read and Reflect). Thanks to Doane College where as an education major and an english/language arts major I was forced to write multiple reflections daily. No joke. Now, it's how I think (thank you Doane professors!). Lately I've been reading the book, "Glimpses of Grace" by Gloria Furman. If you've been keeping up on my blog posts you'll recognize the name because I think I mention it in everything I write these days.

God is using this book to convict me. Seriously.

Last week I read about Christian hospitality. Oh man. More conviction.

First of all, Gloria is a pastor's wife who lives in a parsonage where she shares her kitchen with the church. She describes their home as a "parsonage-slash-church office-slash-meeting space" (p.99) um, can you imagine?! If I had to share my home, my kitchen with people who walk in and out of the church building every day I might lose my mind. (That was my immediate thought) and then this stupid inner voice (who never shuts up BTW) screamed at me, "Wow! That sounded pretty selfish!"

Grrrr....

More conviction.

And then, Gloria talks about her own struggle with sharing her kitchen, her kitchen utensils, her coffee filters.... She discusses her easygoing attitude, but this sharing thing is difficult. (First of all, I don't blame her. Secondly, I admire her.) In fact, she says something pretty darn amazing about this sharing thing, "Isn't that just like the Lord to use things that are so common to us to shape our souls and make us more ready for eternal life in heaven?" (p.99) You mean like coffee filters?

Let me explain why Gloria and I (if we ever met) would be good friends: everything she writes about I struggle with on a daily basis and secondly, she loves coffee. Just like me, she starts her day with a cup (or two) of coffee. One day, the church used her last coffee filter and that meant no coffee. Pretty sure I would've come unglued (or improvised). She asked a question I think anyone of us would've asked, "Why did they have to go into my cupboard and take my last coffee filter?" (p.100) Um, I would've asked it like this, "WHY?! Ugh, Why did they have to go into my cupboard and take my last coffee filter? Seriously?! KYLE! We need to talk!" Gloria called that entitlement and she also calls it petty. "Really - what does a cup of coffee mean in the scope of eternity?" (p.100)

Then she makes this statement, "My outburst of anger is but one aspect of my offense. The selfishness that motivated the anger is also a mark against me. The attitude of superiority over other people is another. And so is the prideful assumption that I am the best sharer in the world. The case against me keeps stacking up, and no lawyer can find a loophole in God's perfect law to acquit me of these crimes against His holiness." (p.101)

DANG IT.

MORE CONVICTION.

Seriously, this is getting out of control. You mean I'm a selfish, prideful individual who's attitude of superiority and entitlement is sin against a God who is infinitely holy? Yes.

So, let's role play here: Pretend I'm living in a home where I have to share my kitchen and my kitchen utensils with all of my college friends and suddenly stuff started disappearing (including the no bake cookies I made the night before). I have an outburst of anger because those were my cookies and my groceries. Even though I bought and paid for all of it, my outburst of anger is a sin? I'm in the wrong? Yes.

Gloria asked the question I was dying to know the answer to, "What am I to do the next time something of mine is taken, used, requested, or giving? Believe the good news!" (p.101)

Wait, what?!

"The Judge himself has put foreword His own Son to bear the punishment for my sin and give to me His own perfect righteousness. I will be free from this entangling sin only to the degree that I have repented of it and joyfully rest in the saving work of Christ instead. Only Jesus can replace the desire I have to dictate how and when and if my possessions are shared with others." (p.101)

In other words, Jesus gave me everything I own. Everything I own belongs to Jesus and should be used to glorify Him. Even a coffee filter? Yes, even a coffee filter. Okay, but my favorite cookie is an exception, right? I mean, God knows it's my favorite.

Don't care. Nope. No.

Gloria goes on to say something that God uses to further convict me: "When grief over our sin and thankfulness for the gift of grace meet together at the cross, a powerful work of transformation occurs in our hearts. If we know we are already saved by the work that Christ has done on the cross, we can have gutsy confidence in Christ to cheerfully, sacrificially give to others." (p.102)

She talks about Jesus being the perfect host because he was willing to sacrifice himself so that we could live in eternity in the presence of God. Without Him, without His perfect sacrifice on the cross, we would be doomed to die an eternal death in Hell. We, as Christians, need to quite literally be willing to give ourselves for the sake of the gospel. Even if that means giving up my morning coffee so that someone else can use the last coffee filter. Or giving up all of the no bake cookies that I made, with my groceries, with my kitchen utensils. Even if it means giving up my own bed!

I kept thinking, that's difficult! That takes a lot of effort. And then I stopped short and thought of Jesus Christ on the cross who was beat so badly that He wasn't even recognizable as a human, who endured nails being drove into his hands and feet, who hung on a cross for hours enduring God's wrath for my selfish sin and when I thought of HIS sacrifice, giving up coffee filters or no bake cookies were not a big deal. Giving those things, those itty bitty things that have no place in eternity, was not difficult nor would it take a lot of effort.

So the next time I feel selfish entitlement creep into my heart I need to think of Christ's sacrifice on the cross and have an eternal perspective on coffee filters.

2 comments:

  1. Funny you mention Doane, I actually have a friend who works there and it's in my back yard!! I live near Crete! I LOVE reading your little snippets and I love hearing about others who love Jesus!! Seems like it's far and in between to see bloggers talking about the good guys

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    1. It's a small world! I loved my experience there, made a lot of bad decisions, but I'm thankful for the friends I made and even for those experiences because they made me a better person today who is so grateful for God's grace. 6 years ago I would NOT have written this. :)

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