In the words of John Newton’s 1779 hymn, “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.”
This story never gets old. Not because it’s the most popular Christian hymn. Not because your church sings it every Sunday. Rather, it’s the story of redemption. And for those of us who belong to Him, it’s the “… light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4 ESV).
Jogging is one of my favorite pastimes. Headphones on ears. Music higher than it should be. And something to track my mileage. Now, like most things, there’s an app for that. Samsung Health is my go-to.
But it’s difficult to use an app for the amount of distance I run. Anywhere between three to seven miles. And since I’m on the road for at least thirty minutes at a time, it’s inconvenient. Why? Because I’m unlocking my phone to view my current pace, distance, and time while simultaneously running.
Until last Monday. That’s when I turned on my Fitbit Surge for the first time in over a year.
Do you remember doing plays as a child? I sure do. In the second grade, my class had all kinds of plays. We had decorations. We invited our parents. And they listened to our squealy, little voices while each of us played our roles.
Then, there were those plays in our reading books. Those moments when different students in the class read different characters. And oftentimes, there were more students than roles to play. Therefore, only those who wanted to participate would get a role. Likely the talkative ones. And the rest of the class would sit back and listen to the story.
A few weeks ago, I found myself peddling the Walmart aisles for a graduation card. Honestly, I didn’t give it much effort. I knew my friend didn’t care about the type of card. Hallmark? A piece of paper folded hamburger style with stick people? He didn’t care. And neither did I. Until I found the perfect one: a card based on the book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss.
I’m not so sure if he likes Dr. Seuss. But I do. The creative illustrations, catchy wordplay, and rhythmic flow awaken my inner-child. But there’s something special about “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” Consider a couple of quotes.
I’ve been the one surrounded by encouraging people after preaching a sermon. But I’ve also been the one ignored and seemingly rejected. And I’m learning to be okay with both.
I often find myself deceived by the applause of man. Every time I publish a message, I find myself discouraged. I hardly ever get the response that I expect. Each week, I pour my heart into the Bible. Sometimes, to the point of mental exhaustion. Only to receive a handful of likes on Facebook. And it’s quite discouraging.
But I shouldn’t even think those thoughts. Let alone write them. But I doubt I’m the only one who tries to please people over God. And so, here’s a message to people pleasers like me.