France 2018: August 1 A Word from God

Now that the wedding was over, I could relax.

It took a while for me to rest, shower, and dress for the banquet, so I showed up a bit late. Dori was already seated, and had saved a place for me. Endrina was on my left.

I don’t need to tell you that dinner was superb. The chef and his team somehow served hot food to more than one hundred guests, all sitting at round tables under a very large tent that was obviously often used for such occasions.

The only other thing I remember about that evening was something Endrina said to me. She was telling me how God had been speaking to her in the past year. What stood out most to her was the need to forget about ourselves.

“Don’t be self-absorbed,” the Lord kept saying to her.

That one sentence continues to reverberate in my mind.

It’s not just that we tend to be selfish, seeking our own advantage or pleasure or will.

Deeper than that lies a fundamental obsession with ourselves.

Or maybe I should say, “Myself.”

The moment she uttered those words, I said, “That’s me! I am really self-absorbed!”

Now, in defense of myself and of the Holy Spirit, I should say that my daily prayers include intercession for many people around the world. In fact, I don’t ask God for many things just for myself.

So, I am not totally self-absorbed, thank God!

On the other hand, when I analyze by my thoughts during the day, I am struck by how much they revolve around what I want to accomplish, or enjoy, or avoid. My conversation, likewise, centers often on myself,

When I think of God’s commands to love him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves, I see that he intends for us to focus first on himself and then on others.

In particular, he tells us repeatedly to praise him and thank him, to meditate upon his word, to rejoice in him – in other words, to set our minds on him. See, for example, Psalm 1 or Colossians 3:1-3.

What a difference it would make if I thought about the Bible passages that I read each morning or, more generally, God’s greatness and his goodness, as expressed so beautifully in the Psalms and the Gospels but also revealed in all the Scriptures.

More than one person has remarked that the Bible is “His story.” It’s all about God and his dealings with people, especially his people.

What if I directed my mind more to God, his ways and his will, more than to myself!

Difficulties would seem small compared to his immense wisdom, power, and love. Delights would appear as gifts from God. I would see tasks as undertaken at his direction, for his glory, and possible only through constant reliance upon him.

Even my sins would fade from my memory as soon as I had confessed them and trusted in his mercy.

Instead of focusing on my weakness, I would think about his power.

In conversation, I would look, not to my own interests, but to those of others.

By now you see why Endrina’s exhortation to be less self-absorbed struck me with such impact.

The rest of the evening passed in delightful conversation over a delicious meal, and we rested well that night.