On Sunday I preached a message on what it means to worship God at work. Taking Philippians 1:20-21 as the biblical text, I shared how worshiping God is done when we do all things to make Christ look great. I encouraged the congregation that this means we glorify Christ through the very work we do and through the relationships we have at our place of work. The application of this message works in all of life, not just work. We must seek to glorify Christ in our homes, in our marriages, in our parenting, and in the recreational activities we do. I’ll come back to that last point in a second.
If you were at Trinity on Sunday you would have heard me preach my message with deep passion and conviction about the subject of glorifying Christ in all that we do. It probably sounded like I had that aspect of my life nailed down. Oh if you only knew… Here is my confession…
Well on Tuesday evening, two days after I preached my message, I failed to apply it in my own life. I was playing slo-pitch on Tuesday evening with our church men’s team and I played a brutal game. I even struck out. (That’s right… I struck out playing slo-pitch). I was so displeased with my performance that I threw a temper tantrum at the plate by hitting the ground with my bat and then came back to the bench only to use the fence as my personal punching bag. This was not what I meant when I talked about glorifying Christ in everything. And what makes things more painful is that the one who threw the biggest tantrum was the pastor of the church team who just preached that we need to make Christ look great in all that we do. OUCH…
Afterwards, I felt so ashamed that I needed to go for a walk to pray. As I was pouring my frustrations out to the Lord, I was reminded of John 15:5 which talks about abiding in the Vine (Jesus) and bearing much fruit from that place of abiding. I must admit, a part of me was like, “OK Lord, I’m abiding in you so let me play some good ball please!” But that wasn’t what Jesus was talking about and not what ended up happening for the remainder of the game anyways.
The most important fruits are the ones that grow within me. The external fruits are important as well, but what God primarily wants demonstrated in my life are the fruits of the Spirit as written in Galatians 5:22-23 (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control). These fruits of the Spirit manifest as we totally abide in Christ for our everyday living.
That means that my performance is not what defines me. Christ in me defines me. If my performance defined me, than I would constantly come up short. When Christ in me defines me, than He shines even when I don’t.
So… to my fellow slo-pitch team members… I am sorry for demonstrating the absolute reverse of everything I preached on Sunday. As your pastor, I failed in demonstrating the application of honoring Christ in everything, including softball. But I do have a word of encouragement for you and anyone else who happens to read this post. Jesus is always beckoning us to come to Him and abide in Him, especially in our deepest times of frustration and failure. Jesus is always inviting us to discover in Him, our true identity which is not wrapped up in our performance but rather in who He is in us. And Jesus wants us to know that He is way more important and meaningful than some of the things we get so emotionally worked up over.
Hopefully this message will stick the next time we are out on the field. Do me a favour though… next time I go up to bat just remind me… “It’s all about Jesus!”
Thanks guys, and thanks to all who read this confession of mine!