Jimmy Stewart was nominated for an academy award for his portrayal of Geroge Bailey…and rightly so! He was, in my opinion, superb in this role. And, he captured well the joy of a man changed! One of my favorite scenes is at the very end of the movie. After he experiences the deep depression of failure…and after Clarence does his job…and after he finds ZuZu’s petals, George is elated! He runs home, finds Mary (played by Donna Reed) and kisses her over, and over again. It’s kind of comical…and a part of me wonders if that was in the script or if Jimmy Stewart didn’t take a little (ahem) creatve liscense as an excuse to smootch all over Donna! Regardless, we can sense what George must be feeling. THIS is IT! I was a fool to miss it, but now I’m going to embrace it…and cherish it.
We too should kiss Donna Reed (Courtney…please understand I’m speaking figuratively)! What I mean is, once we get a biblical perspective on life, we should be transformed. The things that used to frustrate us, we should now embrace. Here are a few as I see them:
Kiss Your Church
I recently listened to a message that C.J. Mahaney posted on his blog. John Loftness pastored a church of thousands…only to leave that ministry to pastor a small church. His insights were encouraging and challenging. His point was simple…there are advantages to being a small church pastor: embrace them! There is a verse in Acts that we simply cannot get away from. It settles the matter, in my opinion. Acts 17:26 says;
I understand the context…but we can’t escape the truth. I am the pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church in 2010 because God has determined it to be so. I pastor a church of a little over a hundred because that’s God plan right now. Instead of wasting time dreaming about how glorious it would be “If only…” I need to embrace where I am as God’s plan…and ENJOY IT!
I love being a small church pastor. When I preach, I don’t look out a sea of nameless faces. I see Brian, and Mitch, and Ron, and Carol, and Aggie….I see people I know and love. I’ve held hands with them…I’ve prayed with them. I’ve seen them in the hospital and cried with them as a loved one pasted away. Large church pastors don’t have that like I do. It’s a privelege.
Embrace and kiss the church God has given you…and serve her with faithfulness.
Kiss Your Family
I have in my home a built-in discipleship program with three little follower of Jesus who need a godly example. They need to SEE what loving Jesus everyday LOOKS like in real life…and more than any else in my church, I can have an big impact on them. I need to embrace and kiss that opportunity.
I’m ashamed to say that in times when I feel the weight of failure…when I am struggling with my “George Bailey” moments is when I have struggled the most with loving my kids. My heart desire for “greatness”…for something MORE…has driven me to be harsh, quick-tempered, and at times aloof. In those moments I’m teaching them something…and it’s NOT godliness! They need to see daddy love Jesus no matter what. In my times of success, they need to see me giving GOD all the glory. In my times of failure, they need to see me humbling ask forgiveness and continue on with faithfulness. My family is a great ministry opportunity…I need to embrace and kiss them.
That one may surprise some…but I think it’s absolutely ESSENTIAL. I am a failure because I am a sinner! And when I embrace my failure, it drives me BACK to the CROSS! I don’t mean we should glory in sinful failures. But I should never forget who I am before the cross! I am a wretch unable to save myself. That means I NEED something…I NEED the GRACE of GOD! Owning my failure brings me back to Jesus. And when I realize again His grace for a wretch like me, it drives me to LOVE Him more. And it’s out of LOVE that I should serve Him (2Cor.5:14)!
Failure and the feeling of hopeless simply shows me that I’ve put my hope in the WRONG thing! It should never rest on my ability to pastor well…or father well…or whatever. And if I am motivated by being BETTER thenI am in store for bitter disappointment. I WILL fail. But if I am motivated by LOVE…if I serve Jesus, not to be a good person, but becaue I love a God of GRACE…then that will never end in disappointment.
We need to remember an important, encouraging truth. 1 Cor. 1:26-31 reminds us that God chose weak, foolish, low, despised people to serve him. He chose failures. He did so that when we succeed, WE do not get the glory, HE does! In that, I embrace my weaknesses…I embrace and kiss my failures.
My heart’s desire is for GOD to be glorified in what I write, speak, do…eat, drink…whatever. I’ll be George Bailey for Jesus! And HE will be glorified.