Not the Full Weight

[This article was written by Pastor Steven Furtick]

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I recently read somewhere that when it comes to art, “the artist only has 50% of responsibility in creation.” The person who engages with the art has the other 50%.

The painter paints. The viewer views.
The author writes. The public reads.
The band plays. The people listen.

In each case, the artist is only responsible for 50% of the transaction. How the person engaging with the art responds is their decision. And it’s not something that any of us can control. Some people will respond positively. Some negatively. It’s their choice.

The same principle applies when we share the gospel. When we share our faith, we only carry 50% of the responsibility. And this applies whether we’re witnessing to one person, or preaching to crowds of thousands.

This reality should be liberating. As long as you faithfully and adequately deliver your 50%, you don’t have to feel the full weight of responsibility for the other person. I’ve met some people who carry a heavy weight of guilt because of the people in their lives who have yet to find life in Christ. They feel that it’s their fault their family or friends are going to hell.

Their problem is they have a God-complex. A compassionate one, but a God-complex nonetheless. They want to have complete control of the 100%. But the truth is we don’t. No person has complete control over how other people respond to the gospel.

It’s good to feel the weight of people’s souls. It’s motivating to your 50%. But it’s bad to carry around the weight of their will. That’s coveting their 50%. And it will load a weight of guilt upon you that you were never meant to bear. Jesus wants to bear their guilt. If they don’t believe, they will bear it. For your own sake, don’t take something that’s not yours to carry.

It can be frustrating and heartbreaking. There are going to be times when you want more for the people you’re sharing your faith with than they want for themselves. Times when you wish you could have 100% of the control.

But you don’t. You can only control what you do with your 50%.

  • Maybe you’ve been sharing your faith with a friend for years. But he keeps going further away.
  • Maybe you’ve been trying to convey the gospel with your parents. But every time they just change the subject.
  • Maybe you’ve been preaching your heart out, but no one seems to be responding.

Don’t give up. The next time could be the time.
Give 100% to your 50%.
Pray for them like you’ve never prayed before.
And give them room to exercise their 50%.

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This entry was originally posted December 8, 2010 at http://www.stevenfurtick.com

Seeing God At Work… a short story

Today, I want to tell you a short (but true!) story…

A while back, I was stuck in a crummy, part-time, minimum-wage job. It would have been great, except that my managers were micro-managing and not encouraging teamwork (they encouraged everyone to compete against one another, instead), they spitefully gave me very few hours (despite knowing that I was trying to provide for my family of 4), and the job itself got just plain boring & repetitive. So, I prayed for a way out. And, I prayed & I prayed & I prayed… for months!

All the while, I was applying for other jobs.

One day, as I was working at my crummy job, a woman showed up who I knew ran a healthcare place in my hometown. I had applied to work for her several years before, so I mentioned that to her then — said I recognized her face from the newspaper. She asked if I was still looking for work, and I said yes. So, she said that I should bring her my resumé, and — even though she currently had someone filling the receptionist position– she would keep my resumé on file because she suspected that her receptionist would be leaving soon. So, the very next day, I dropped it off at her office, and then began to wait.

Well, I didn’t hear back from her, and it was really disheartening. But, I kept applying to other places, and I kept praying for God to send me something.

Six months later, I had an interview with one of the jobs I’d applied for. And, I really thought I was going to get it, too! But, then they called to say they had chosen someone more qualified. And, I was crushed…

…until I talked to my neighbor, whose mother frequently visits the aforementioned healthcare facility. Apparently the receptionist had now left, and the owner was without someone to fill the spot. So my neighbor suggested that I go and reapply. Which I did.

Now, here’s where it gets cool… 😉

About a week after reapplying to the healthcare facility, I get an email from the owner saying that, while she was choosing to go without a receptionist for a while, she also knew of someone else –in town– that was hiring. She passed along this other woman’s e-mail address, and wished me luck. And, I was thoroughly touched! She didn’t have to go out of her way to do this for me, and yet, she did.

Right away, I contacted this other woman, via email, forwarding on my resumé, and saying I was very interested in the job. Well, she wrote me back the next morning to say that the job wasn’t for a receptionist position, but to be a personal assistant in this office of her’s. She said, though, that if I was still interested, I could call her to set up an interview. And, I did.

Finally, there was hope!

Sure enough, the very next day I had an interview at this office. And, I felt that it went really well. I could already see God’s hand all over this whole story, but tried to contain myself, as I didn’t want to put too much hope into it, for fear it wouldn’t work out.

But, a week later, I got a call to go in for a second interview at this same office… and that’s where they told me that they wanted to hire me! 😀 So, I accepted the offer, and started the following week! Shortly thereafter, I quit my other (crummy) job.

Last, but not least, the new job required me to get a car so that I could drive around running errands for my boss — and get back and forth to work, of course. Hubby & I have had only one vehicle for the whole 12 years we’ve been married, so the thought of having my own wheels was thrilling. And, sure enough, not long after, we found me a cheap –but awesome!– used vehicle.

So, I am praising God! He sent that healthcare woman in to my workplace… He had all of the other places not work out, all the way up until this other (office) job was available… and then He provided both the job, and a car! Whoohoo!

The new job is certainly not boring! LOL. It’s going to take some time to learn all of the details, but I’m enjoying the fact that I am now working in an office, instead of retail. It’s such a breath of fresh air! And, I love that I now have my weekends and evenings free, too! With our current family situation, it suits us much better, and makes things a lot easier.

The moral of the story: Always watch for God’s hand at work in your life! He’s always there, taking care of the details, even when it seems that all hope is lost. 😉

Word-Filled Wednesday (April 8)

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“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions.
Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your
everyday human concerns will be met.”
~ Matthew 6:33, The Message Bible

So often I forget that I need to put God first in my life… that I don’t need to worry about any little thing, because He has everything under His control. This verse is a great reminder of that — and I especially like how “The Message” version puts it… “Steep your life…!” 😉

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For more Word-Filled Wednesday posts, click the button at the right! –>

MEMO from God

This came to my email (again) this morning, so I thought I’d post it here… that way it can be remembered from time to time. 😉

MEMO FROM GOD:

To:             YOU
Date:            TODAY
From:           GOD
Subject:       YOURSELF
Reference:   LIFE

This is God.  Today I will be handling ALL of your problems for you.  I do NOT need your help.  So, have a nice day.

I love you.

P.S.  And, remember…
If life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do NOT attempt to resolve it yourself!  Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. I will get to it in MY TIME.  All situations will be resolved, but in My time, not yours.

Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it.  Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now.

  • If you find yourself stuck in traffic, don’t despair. There are people in this world for whom driving is an unheard of privilege.
  • Should you have a bad day at work; think of the man who has been out of work for years.
  • Should you despair over a relationship gone bad; think of the person who has never known what it’s like to love and be loved in return.
  • Should you grieve the passing of another weekend; think of the woman in dire straits, working twelve hours a day, seven days a week to feed her children.
  • Should your car break down, leaving you miles away from assistance; think of the paraplegic who would love the opportunity to take that walk.
  • Should you notice a new gray hair in the mirror; think of the cancer patient in chemo who wishes she had hair to examine.
  • Should you find yourself at a loss and pondering what is life all about, asking what is my purpose? Be thankful. There are those who didn’t live long enough to get the opportunity.
  • Should you find yourself the victim of other people’s bitterness, ignorance, smallness or insecurities; remember, things could be worse. You could be one of them!

Now, you have a nice day.
                         
God 
 
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