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

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The Hidden Homeless

I’ve felt called, lately, to do something for the homeless, but have excused myself with the fact that there aren’t any ‘homeless’ near me, as I don’t live in the city.

Today, in the mail, I got a book about following your God-given calling. The preface shares this quote:

Soak continually in the one great truth of which you have had a vision…” ~ Oswald Chambers

…and this makes me think, again, of Shane Claiborne’s book, “The Irresistable Revolution“, and my hunger to do something about the homeless.

After reading said book’s preface, I pick up the local paper (which also came in the mail, today), and read an article about a documentary that’s recently been made about the local –but “unseen”– homeless population … and this documentary was produced by none other than my very own cousin’s company!

Me-thinks God is trying to get my attention! LOL. 😛

Obviously there is something that I could be doing, and I need to be contacting my cousin to get more information. Stay tuned for more! 😉

Simply…The Way

More and more, lately, I have come across the term “The Way” of Jesus. It basically means getting back to the basics of what it means to call yourself a “Christian” (a Christ-follower) ~ shedding all of the complicated, man-made rules & rituals, and making following Jesus as simple (for lack of a better term) as Jesus intended for it to be in the first place.

To follow Jesus means to imitate Him ~ live as He taught us to live (through His life and actions while on Earth). Of course that is, by all means, far from simple. But it’s also not nearly as complicated as the church (and today’s ‘pharisaical’ types) would have us believe.

Even in Jesus’ day, the Pharisees made knowing God into a list of rules and rituals. But Jesus repeatedly put down all of that religiosity, and said simply, “Follow Me“.

Mother Teresa was a prime example of living “The Way” of Jesus. She went to where the poorest of the poor were, and she served and loved them with everything she had.

Shaine Claiborne and his friends at The Simple Way (an aptly named group, IMHO) are providing yet another example, as they minister to the homeless on the streets of Philedelphia.

You know, it’s really too bad. When I was a teenager, I was very self-absorbed. I was so caught up in my family troubles and my boy-drama that I had no time for, or interest in, missions. I was too scared to leave the comforts of what I knew. And yet, nowadays, I’m finding myself wishing for an opportunity to go, and I can’t because I have my own -young- family to care for. Not to mention, my husband may or may not go along with the idea, given that we don’t share the same beliefs. 😕 I don’t live in a big city, either, so there aren’t that many opportunities to serve the homeless.

Shane Claiborne’s book, “The Irresistable Revolution“, is still having an impact on me and my thinking. LibraryThing.com’sEarly Reviewers” program has a book on offer, this month, called “Under the Overpass” by Mike Yankosky. It’s about two guys who purposely chose to be homeless for a time in order to better live out their faith — without the modern conveniences and comforts. I requested this book for review, and I hope I get it. I was torn about asking for it, but felt led, almost, to do so. Shane’s book has left that much of an impression on me.

I want to find more books that talk about simplifying the Christian faith, and about imitating Jesus. I want to write my own book about it so that others can join me in this, too! It’s such a strong tug at my soul, the way this concept resonates with me! There’s more to it that I haven’t yet discovered… I’m sure of it. 😉