Dying to Self

From Blue Like Jazz, p. 185

I was in San Francisco recently staying at this bed and breakfast place for people who are in the city to do ministry. It was a small house, but there were probably fifteen people living there at the time. The guy who ran the place, Bill, was always making meals or cleaning up after us, and I took note of his incredible patience and kindness. I noticed that not all of us did our dishes after a meal, and very few people thanked him for cooking. One morning, before anybody woke up, Bill and I were drinking coffee at the dining room table. I told him I lived with five guys and that it was very difficult for me because I liked my space and needed my privacy. I asked him how he kept such a good attitude all the time with so many people abusing his kindness. Bill set down his coffee and looked me in the eye. “Don,” he said. “If we are not willing to wake up in the morning and die to ourselves, perhaps we should ask ourselves whether or not we are really following Jesus.”

Father, help me to die to myself. Father, may I not regard my “important” work and ministry as being more important than watching Joy dance, or hearing Kaylynn tell a joke, or cuddling with Annie, or listening to my wife’s heart. Forgive me for asking my girls to be quiet in the car so I can better hear a comment on talk radio.  Ouch.  Father, give me the strength to not pursue activities and relationships that stroke my ego over the quiet, non-public things you call me to.  May I find my needs for love, acceptance, and approval met in you so I can go to others and pour out your love without condition, even in the face of rejection.  Father, help me to become the man that you have intended rather than giving in to my own insecurities.  Trusting you to meet my needs rather than going out in the world and chasing after them is difficult. I know if I die to my self, then you will live in me (Galatians 2:20).

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