Shaped by God
Friday, March 31
Seth Harris, member of RPC since 1997
Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete be being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. - Philippians 2:1-4
Halfway through my sophomore year in college, I moved to the Washington D.C. area for six months to be in a house where men from over the world come to live together in an immersed environment focused on conflict resolution and reconciliation, using the service and leadership teachings of Jesus as a guide. Being a group of a dozen-plus young men committed to service work, our daily routine to learn and practice these principles was landscaping, minor construction, and helping people move. Manual labor will teach you a lot about people.
Shortly after I arrived, two Tibetans came, including my friend, Dawa, a Tibetan Buddhist who believes in Jesus. This perceived dichotomy perplexed me. So one day, while painting the house together, I asked Dawa about this. He said to me, "Seth-la, I am Buddhist by culture. They are my people. I believe in Jesus because He died for me." This experience proved significant in my life. This was when the labels began to stop for me, when the stereotypes that I had held began to be apparent. It was the start of why I now wonder what it is like to be in someone's place, what their life might be like.
Since then, God's spirit has molded in me a consideration for others, a desire to meet people where they are. God's guidance has cultivated an awareness of being outside of self and a forceful drive to look out for the interests of others. How can I empower people to feel the love of God? If I look to the cross, I can feel the spirit move through me in unexplainable ways, sometimes directing the heart involuntarily to produce ineffable acts of love. Witnessing these acts drives the soul to willingly surrender and let grace take hold. It is then that people feel the presence of God.
The cross is the greatest sign of sacrifice for others. If we look to Christ's example, then we'll give others our holy attention and show them that God wants the very best for their lives. It is not about us and having the answers. It is about God working through us to carry out his work, utilizing the gifts that he provides for that purpose. Recognizing this, I am then able to treat others the same way, desiring only to see God's work fulfilling its purpose in their lives.
God, give me a willingness to surrender to your guidance in all my affairs that your love may be felt by the people you bring into my life. Amen.
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