A friend and I were talking Sunday night about the recent rumors of inappropriate and sexual conduct of a star NFL player. This has been all over the news lately and as we watched the Sunday Night Football game, our discussion gradually turned towards it. With both this recent scandal, along with the scandal that rocked Tiger Woods last year, I was profoundly sad for the men that had taken such negative turns. With both instances, I was reminded that our lives are a collection of small decisions each day to do the right thing, to choose the correct action. We face the decision to embody the Kingdom of God and do the right thing, or follow the rabbit trail that follows our own sinful impulses and desires. For both these men, they have enjoyed fame, almost unlimited celebrity, riches, as well as the favorable opinion of the adoring masses. In the eyes of the world, they had it all. And yet, they made small decisions to put all this in jeopardy. And over the course of years, their small decisions led to monumental collapses in public opinion.
These stories reinforce Jesus teaching that our lives are a collection of moments, and doing the right thing and living for God doesn’t always lead to immediate gratification, but over the long haul, your life will reflect the glory of God like a beautiful mosaic.
After Sunday’s sermon by Pastor Richard (listen here), I took another step to think about my own life. It is so easy to think of these major scandals that face public figures and cast our own shame and disapproval upon them, but how much more difficult is it to think, “how have I also followed my own sinful impulses that can lead to downfall and shame?” We as a religious group can often think we have it all figured out and that all those “outside” are the ones that are wrong. And in these scenarios, we get built up by false pride. We begin to see Jesus as being in our own image…instead of humbling searching for who Jesus really is. The truth, Pastor Richard said, is that Jesus filled his ministry reaching out to people who didn’t fit into the correct social groups- He filled His life breaking down barriers.
So instead of focusing on the failures of others, I can think of my own failures, and in humility ask Jesus to reveal Himself to me so that I can be a vessel of His love for this world. In perfect timing, I was reading this morning Eugene Peterson’s book about pastoring and he had this to say: “The Son of God empties himself of prerogative, of divine rights, of status and reputation, in order to be the one whom God uses to fill up creation and creatures with the glory of salvation. A bucket, no matter what wonderful things it contains, is of no use for the next task at hand, until it is emptied.”
So, my hope and prayer this day for my life, is that God would empty me of my vanity, my pride, my own pre-conceived notions of Jesus’ life and ministry, and see Him again as an empty bucket. I’m ready to be filled Lord. And only when we are overflowing with Jesus do we have anything to offer a broken world so needing His love. The question is…are you an empty bucket ready to be filled?