Full plates . . . spinning at high speeds . . . can keep us so focused on ourselves that we hardly notice others around us and their pressing needs.
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?
As we can see from James, self-absorption is NOT a good thing. Knowing that the Gospel meets both spiritual needs and physical needs, we must continually be on the lookout for those God brings into our lives who have those needs, so that we may be the hands and feet of our Lord Jesus Christ to them.
When Jesus was instructing His disciples about how the watching world around them would know whose they are, He said it would be by their love (John 13:35)—not self-love—but love for God (our vertical relationship) and love for others (our horizontal relationships).
So . . . how have you been doing lately at loving others around you? Here is a quick self-examination that may help us to better help others.
We all have full plates when it comes to matters of personal, relational, and professional responsibilities. But perhaps we are the ones who have heaped them so full, not God. One way to find out is to see if we are constantly pushing the stuff on our plates around (like a child who doesn’t want to eat what is on the plate) and never really accomplishing much in any particular area.
Remember, God will only give us assignments that we can actually handle (in His strength), which means that He will only put on our plates what He actually wants us to do . . . for His glory and the good of others.
SPINNING AT HIGH SPEEDS
High speed plate-spinning is a technique we have learned over time. The faster we keep our plates spinning, the more likely our plates will stay up in the air and not come crashing to the ground. However, we rarely manage to actually complete the activities on our plates when they are spinning at such high speeds. They just go round and round and round.
So what is the solution? First, we need to take our plates to God and prayerfully consider what is actually on them and who actually put all that “stuff” on our plates. Next, when we identify those things that we put there and not God, we must have the strength to get rid of them. And finally, we must slow the frantic spinning down a bit. When we slow down, our ability to focus on others will speed up.
Remember, the goal in life is to expand the cause of God’s kingdom, not our own. James went on to say in the second chapter of his epistle: “You have faith. I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.” Whatever God is calling you to do in the lives of others right now, here is my encouragement to you: JUST DO IT!
You’ll be glad you did.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!