Forty Minutes

By: Jack McCall

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Ouch! This scripture is more than a mirror in my face or a conviction in my heart; it undresses me spiritually and emotionally.

A good portion of my life has been wrapped in selfish ambition/motivation and vain conceit. It’s not as though I can blame my parents for raising me wrongly or neglecting to teach me about humility. I just didn’t see humility as the driving force or vehicle that would fulfill my dreams. I still catch myself silently gloating about the smallest conquests, when in reality the glory for miraculous results should always fall to God. If I am doing what God has ordained me to do, the spotlight should be turned on him for creating the opportunities and orchestrating the outcome.

Pride is the major enemy of Christians. It acts as a block to the love Christ wants to share with others through us. That’s why anything that puffs us up is something we should take a close look at; even those things that are spiritual in nature. Our actions as Christians are to build others up at every turn so that our words are lived out in love.

I recall an opportunity I had to conduct prayer services for an assisted living facility. This was a chance for me to be up front, in charge, read scripture and offer a sermon to boot; a chance to be recognized. I agreed to the arrangement, which was an immediate indication that my pride left no room for humility. Twice a month I drove 40 minutes to Seven Oaks where 15 to 20 elderly people came together for a touch from God. Talk about a captive audience! Some of them even called me “Father Jack”, which stroked my already inflamed ego (Easing God Out).

Things hadn’t gone well at the office one Friday and the traffic was worse than usual. I was a mess by the time I arrived at Seven Oaks. I put on a happy face though, and began the service on time. Five minutes later, an elderly woman hobbled in with her walker, apologizing for being tardy. I was admonishing her with my silent judgments when she said, “I left my room 40 minutes ago so I wouldn’t be late.” It was as if God said to me, “Jack, your motivation for being here is not one with my purpose.” I was so convicted and humbled! This woman had left her room about the same time I had left my office. She was filled with humility and I was filled with pride. She was the one delivering an anointed message that day, not I.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE: Is my service to God wrapped in selfish ambition or vain conceit? Am I humble in my perception of others? Is my motivation for doing what I do for God one with his purpose? What would God say?