Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
Today was Fall Cleaning day at the ministry. We closed the office at noon and after lunch, we started cleaning our areas and the public areas of the building. We usually do this twice a year. Part of the cleaning process is to clean our own desks, computer files, paper files, etc. As I was cleaning out some paper files I came across a file folder that I had titled, “Notes of Encouragement.” I couldn’t remember the last time I looked at, or put anything in that file. So, I took some time to look at it. There were around 50 notes of all kinds, some written on nice cards or just plain paper and even some were on index cards. Some were unsigned so I didn’t know who they were.
But they all had one thing in common. They all said nice things and were encouraging. Thus, the title for the file! Some thanked me for being kind to them, or taking time to talk openly and honestly with them. Others appreciated my “fatherly” demeanor and still others appreciated the example I set regarding work ethics, etc. One note, in particular, meant so much to me. At the beginning of this year, one of the men in the ministry actually wrote me a poem with a nice note and emailed it to me. I have always loved and tried to emulate this individual. We were pretty good friends and would go out to lunch occasionally just to talk. But over time, the ministry grew and duties changed and we don’t do that anymore. We are still friends, but things have become so hectic and busy for my friend that we just don’t have time any more. I thought I would share his poem below.
I Know a Man:
I know a man so faithful,
Who serves in unnoticed grace,
For whose example I am so grateful,
And who has surely put a smile on Jesus’ face.
I’ve watched from a distance as he cared,
Many years for his sickly and frail wife,
How her burdens he continually beared,
Until she passed to the next stage of Life.
And I’ve watched him study God’s Word,
With the vigor of a newborn saint,
His lunch times spent pouring over Scriptures heard,
Preparing his heart to not faint.
The world needs more men like this,
Devout, honest, godly, sincere, and true,
I hope that I too might one day make such a list,
Bob, I hope that I can be more like you.
When I read this for the first time I got a lump in my chest and throat. It came at a time when I was just sick of who I was. I have mentioned before that I struggle with pride, anger, envy and even jealousy at times. I was, and still am to some extent, struggling with these things. At the same time, I also started feeling like a stranger in a sea of friends and people I know. I fell into a bit of discouragement (more like depression) and decided I am just not who people think I am. I guess you could sum it up by saying I thought of myself as a hypocrite. I truly cried out to the Lord to change these attitudes in me. I’m still kind to people and work hard, and all the other good things that the note writers said. I just pulled back as much as possible from everything and just tried to concentrate on the Lord. I started spending my lunch hours by going to one of the small conference rooms and spending time with the Lord for the hour. I never announced that to anyone and never knew my friend noticed that I was doing it until I saw the poem. I shared some of this with a friend recently by email the other day and told them I think I might be overthink things. They agreed that I have the tendency to do that and they told me that they think the Lord is working in me to make me the type of person He wants me to be.
I don’t mean to make this all about Bob. I do have a purpose for writing all this. Here are a few things I think I am learning. First, we think way too much of ourselves at times. At least I do. We tend to lose all objectivity and we sink into the proverbial pit. The Christian life for many of us becomes a matter of “I feel….” Once that starts to happen, we tend to let our thoughts take over and the enemy has a great opportunity to come in and start his accusations against us. My last blog was about seven qualities of a growing Christian. One of those is self-discipline. I forgot that we need to take our thoughts captive and ask for the Holy Spirit to take control. We cannot afford to live our Christian life on feelings. That takes self-discipline.
Second, we need to see who we really are in Christ. We often call this knowing our identity in Christ. Ephesians 1 is one of the best chapters I know of to see who we really are in Chirst. We are chosen, redeemed, forgiven, loved by God, we are heirs of the Kingdom and sealed with the Holy Spirit. These are real blessings, but they are spiritual. I think we tend to live too much in the world and do not set our minds on things that are above (Col 3:1-2). God’s view of us is not at all what our view of ourselves is. We’d do well to believe God when it comes to our real identity.
Third, listen to your friends. My friend’s poem was so great and encouraging, but you know what? My thoughts about it, was that he had it wrong. I have spent my time here trying to follow his life when it comes to walking with God. How can I even come close to his walk! Add to that, nearly 50 notes I found in my folder today, all saying how kind, loving or an example I was. I know I tend toward the negative in my life. We really need to develop an attitude of thankfulness to the Lord and for what He has done.
With that, I will close. May we all be encouraged in what God has done in our lives and may we believe Him when it comes to our lives and identity. The truth is, God chose us knowing what we are! Ephesians 1 says He chose us because it pleased Him to do so. In other words, He wanted to do it! That alone should cause us to fall and worship Him with thanksgiving. Our God is on our side, no matter how we FEEL. Blessings to you all.