Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A lesson even Dirty Harry knew...

I've already admitted that God spoke to me from one of Arnie's Terminator movies, as well as from Sly in one of the Rocky moviesso why wouldn't He be able to from Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry? It was just the other day, as I flicked on the TV and caught the last 20 minutes or so of Magnum Force, that I heard Clint growl a line that left me wondering if God had me in His sights.

It was a simple line, and one that I at first dismissed even though I couldn't help but feel provoked by it. Take a listen to this brief clip...

I don't know about you, but I often can't resist comparing myself to others in my line of work only to be left feeling discouraged at how inadequate I perceive myself to be compared to how amazing they seem to be! It's like I believe that, in order to feel truly adequate or acceptable, I have to be as good as whoever I'm tempted to compare myself to at whatever they do well at. And since I know some very gifted pastors, that can leave me feeling pretty useless at times! And not only useless, but exhausted as well after wasting time trying to excel at things that aren't my areas of strength. Of course, it also reflects a definite lack of humility as I try to be some kind of Superman rather than celebrating the diversity of strengths within the team of pastors around me.

So that's why I think it's important to heed Harry Callahan's advice in the above video. And that's why I also think that Paul wrote in Romans 12:3-4, "For by the grace given to me, I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them..."

We all have a unique measure of faith and grace, and each of us has a different spiritual gift mix according to that grace. That means that we need one another as each of us brings our strengths to help with things in areas in which some of us feel weak. And that means we can appreciate each person's contribution, unthreatened by how much better others are at things we don't do so well. 

After all, as much as God calls us to believe Him to do miracles through us, the only way to avoid the petty jealousies that can arise as God uses specific people to do those miracles, is to get to know our limitations – and to be grateful that others have the strengths to make up for them.

© 2011 by Ken Peters

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