When did life become all about us? Really? How have we made this about ourselves?
Even when we arrive to this place of living with generosity and love, the truth is, it’s still about self because we hold back. We don’t fully dive in and do the things God has prompted us to do … why … because we fear what others may think of us. We fear looking foolish. We fear not fitting in. We fear failure. We fear judgment. It’s all so self-centered. We don’t do, because we’re so totally wrapped up in thinking it’s more about us than about God.
This week on Oahu, I’ve come face to face with the most humble man who is showing me how to simply get over myself. How to get out of my own head and into the will of God. How to overcome the little voice that tells me I can’t, and lean into the voice that says it’s bigger than me.
His name is Jim, and he’s the owner of a little coffee hut along the road on the way to the North Shore. His hut is nestled among the food trucks selling fresh scampi shrimp and pineapple smoothies, surrounded by honey bees, wild yellow canaries, and palm trees. He sells an iced coconut mocha that makes my taste buds sing.
On Jim’s little coffee stand is a purple wooden, hand painted sign that reads, “If Jesus Could Save a Wretch Like Me, He Can Save ANYONE!” He has full size bibles stacked on the counter, free to everyone.
A conversation unfolded with Jim, where I asked him to share his wretch story with me. He said, “My story is much the same as many others. I was living a selfish life, hurting everyone else along the way. I drank a lot of alcohol and created hurt everywhere I went.” He said, “Jesus had to leave the 99 to come look for me hard. I didn’t make it easy on him. But he still came.”
He told me he was given the gift of repentance. Woah … the gift of repentance. Did you know that’s a gift from God? Jim explained it like this … If you get pulled over for speeding, you apologize to the officer as he gives you a ticket and you promise you won’t do it again. The next day, you speed again, just hoping to get away with it. The gift of repentance is the difference between hoping to just get away with it again, and truly wanting something totally different.
The gift of repentance allows us to see the damage we are creating, and turns our hearts towards God and the souls all around us. The gift of repentance shows us life isn’t about us.
Repentance is a gift from your Heavenly Father who wants you to live in the fullness of life he created you for. When you receive and walk in the gift of repentance, your life becomes the most beautifully balanced and grounded example of humility and love.
Acts 11:18 “God has granted repentance that leads to life.” God GRANTED it meaning he gave it as a gift.
2 Timothy 2:25 “Hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” Again, God GRANTS repentance to radically change our lives.
Have you ever asked God for the gift of repentance? This gift will take you out of the traps of selfish living and lead you to live that open, expansive, and limitless life Jesus came to give you. A life out of your own head, and into the fullness of everything God invites you to partner with him in.
HONEY, IT’ REALLY NOT ABOUT YOU. GET OVER YOURSELF.
Jim told me once God hunted him down and gave him the gift of repentance, he wanted to make everything he did about God and not about him. But, what could he possibly do to make his simple life about God? How could he use his little coffee hut for God’s work? That’s when he felt a prompting to offer bibles for free.
So simple … and that little voice told him it was so silly. What would everyone think? Would he look foolish? Would he be considered weird? So, he hesitated, and once again, his desire to honor God was twisted into everything being more about him than about God. He felt embarrassed and ashamed, knowing who he used to be and questioning how God could ever use someone like him.
As humble as that sounds, it’s the same path of self-centered living. Me. It’s about me.
BUT, NO IT’S NOT.
So, in obedience, Jim put out the bibles, and he painted his sign, fully displaying his story and humbly pointing to a relentless God who rescued him and would do the same for absolutely anyone else!
With a tear in his eye, he shared with me how he still struggled to believe God could use him. How a painted sign could make a difference. How a free bible could really ever change a life. And then he said it again, “But it’s not about me. It’s about God, and he can do anything he wants to do.”
Since offering his little coffee hut business to God, he said he has been blessed beyond measure in ways he could have never imagined. Is he doing anything radically different? Nope, he’s just offering what he has to God and deciding every day the little voice that tries to make it about himself won’t win the battle.
How could God use you and I if we just got over ourselves? What if we stopped caring about what others thought about us, and more about how God wants to love through us? What if we stopped trying to put on a show, and used every part of our story to honor God in complete humility?
You see, Jim shares evangelism in a more beautiful and authentic way than I’ve ever seen. Is God using him? You bet he is! I didn’t need him to tell me about Jesus or give me a bible, but I need him to remind me it’s really not about me or what anyone else thinks about me! it’s not about what big things I can do, it’s about my willingness to do even the smallest things for God right where I am with exactly what I have.
Jim told me his greatest hope is to stand before Jesus at the end of his days, and hear Jesus say, “Jim, because of your life, this child is here too.” I have a feeling there will be more than one of God’s children there as a result of a wretch who knew he was a wretch, and humbly and fully accepted the gift of repentance, painted his little sign, shared his simple story, and offered free bibles.
Ask God for the gift of repentance. May he grant you the divine gifting of getting over yourself and never being the same again. May you offer what seems totally insignificant to you, and allow a great big, powerful God to use it in ways you will never know this side of eternity.
The enemy doesn’t get to play in that old shame and guilt anymore. Your story will be shared. And every time you share, may you remember more and more, it’s really not about you. It’s about God and the souls he has placed around you!
Here’s to my friend Jim, my fellow wretch who has been hunted down by Jesus and saved, an extra large iced coconut mocha, and another day of life covered by the gift of repentance, and a new found awareness that this isn’t about me at all.