“Okay God, I’m trying to serve you here, so what’s up with this?” Ever felt that way? When you’re doing your best to follow Jesus and serve Him and things just keep going wrong and you can’t seem to catch a break? I have. Sometimes it seems like the more I work to help other people, the more things break around my own house. As it stands right now, my Jeep is broken down and its really not a good time to go into debt to get another one, we’re going to need a new roof in the next year or so, the living room furniture is getting pretty nasty (duct tape is holding the chair together), the carpet upstairs is as old as the house and way beyond nasty, and the dog keeps escaping the fence. I could go get a job. I might have to do that. The thing is, if I do, a lot of stuff for the Lakota people will have to go by the wayside. I’m not sure I’m ready to see that happen just yet.
That has been bugging me lately. I’m just getting tired of things not going right. I just getting tired of shabby. I’m getting tired of working harder to get further behind. I want to say, “God come on … give me a break here … I’m doing all this for You.” And then it occurred to me….
If anyone had a right to feel like a break was due her, Mary was. I mean, really, think about it …She chose to submit to the will of God for her life by bearing His son. She didn’t have to do that. She could have said “no, sorry, this isn’t a good time for me. I’m planning a wedding and people will not understand and it’ll be a really bad witness for you God. You’ll have to find somebody else”. But instead, she chose to submit to God’s will, trusting that He knew what He was doing.
And what did she get … trouble! The pregnancy came at the most inconvenient time possible, almost costing her her marriage to Joseph and even her very life. Jesus birth came at the most inconvenient time possible – after a long, grueling trip with no family or friends nearby. And it occurred in the most inconvenient place possible – a foul smelling stable filled with animal manure. Not one person in the town of Bethlehem had mercy on them. To be sure people saw the young couple and new that they had traveled far and that she was about to deliver a baby, yet not one single person offered them a helping hand. Every single person they approached for help turned them away. I don’t’ know about you but if I were Mary, I’d have a word or two with God about all that. I mean it was HIS son and He is ALL POWERFUL so I’d have to be wondering, “what gives?”.
But you know what? That kind of thinking comes from a feeling of entitlement. We think we’re entitled to a better way because of who we serve. Even though we may know better, we somehow think that things should be easier for us. Somehow the fact of the crucifixion escapes our memory. Yeah, even Jesus had a tough time here on earth.
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. Philippians 2:8-10 (The Message)
So, why in the world would anybody ever choose to serve God? Well, for starters that's not the whole story. Trouble isn't all you get. Sure, there'll be plenty of that but there are rewards too. And besides, I'm betting people who don't serve God have trouble too. In fact, I'm sure of it. And then there's the fact that there is simply no greater joy. You can't find that kind of joy in things. Not even your family can give you the joy that serving God brings. Yeah, things are tough but that's only part of the story. Maybe that’s why I’m not in a big hurry to go get a job and join the rat race of gathering more and nicer stuff. I’m just not convinced that’s better.