by wesley hicks
Sometimes we can be creatures of habit. For me, there are a few quirky things I do repetitively that stand out the most and for the most part they revolve around sports. I used to play baseball in high school and some in college.
Typically I pitched or played middle infield. When it was time to take the field I would go through a routine of grabbing my glove and I would work it with a little spit and begin my route to the field. Once I make it to the foul line I jump over the line and land with my feet in a specific way. If my feet didn’t feel right, or I touch the line I would turn around and go back to the dug out and start over. Once I felt like I had done this correctly I would then put my glove on my glove hand and I was then set. After all 3 outs were secured I would wear my glove until I get to the line, and gently step over without touching the line and then take the glove off and begin to be normal for a moment.
For hitting, I am more relaxed. I just need to walk behind the catcher and umpire before I step into the batter’s box. Aside from all that I am pretty normal when I comes to routines. Routines are not bad, and for the most part not as insane as what I do when I play ball. In fact, one that I would share with the hopes of seeing others incorporate it is both very simply and potentially very transformative.
I heard a pastor once say a prayer, that as soon as I heard it I began to use it regularly in my own life and I am so thankful that I do. It is this, “Lord, I don’t ask you for much today, I just ask that you give me your heart for those that don’t know you.” Now I don’t use that exact same prayer, but instead I use my own form of it, “Lord, I don’t ask you for much today, I just ask that you give me your heart for the people in our church, in my workplace, and the people you bring into my life today.” God has used this prayer to change my heart more and more each day. It has brought me more consistent joy and more meaning in my relationships with the people in my life. It has helped me to become more forgiving when my natural bend is to hold on to anger or hurt. It has given me a better perspective in caring for the people that I get to walk through life together with. It has opened my eyes and heart to a deeper sense of my own purpose in the lives of the people that God allows me to love and care for. Why has this prayer impacted me like this?
I believe that the answer to that question is as simple as it is also meaningful. I believe that when we pray for God to make us love people the way He loves people that He delights in answering that prayer because it creates in us a heart that glorifies Him. I also thing that it creates in us a desire to respond to people in the same way we have sensed God respond to us in any given situation. Here are just a few ways that I see this play out in my own life:
(Vertical = Me to God, Horizontal= Me to Others)
2. Service in the Church
a. Vertical – I have weird questions and thoughts sometimes, yet when I ask God the questions that maybe I feel aren’t appropriate to ask in church I always encounter a God that loves me and leads me in a direction that ultimately pulls me closer to Him.
b. Horizontal – When conversations with others leads me takes us to a point that may not line up with sound theology I am reminded that when I have moments that are cloudy God lovingly guides me toward truth at the pace in which I can handle it. So when those moments happen with others I try to remember that God wants me to focus on loving this person at the pace in which they can accept truth without destroying the trust and respect that the relationship is founded on. I don’t compromise on sharing the truth, but sometimes the answer I would want to share quickly is really aimed a question that the person isn’t even ready to ask yet.
a. Vertical – Ultimately, God in His loving grace served me through sending Jesus to die for me. While He walked with His disciples we saw so many interactions with people in which Jesus lovingly served them to see them experience hope, joy, and truth. Even now I see how often He serves me daily in that He has given me air in my lungs, food on my plate, and a roof over my head. None of those are guarantees or rights that I have earned in this life, but they are general gifts of His grace towards me.
3. Service in my family
b. Horizontal – I look at each time I am at our church as an opportunity to serve someone. On Sunday’s I am not assigned in any one ministry because I am normally floating around looking for our ministry leaders to see if I can help them in any way they need. I do this because I really believe that the people serving on Sunday have the largest potential to impact people for the Gospel than any sermon I may ever preach. I see so much potential in every volunteer that we have that it amazes me that I get to serve them. I just wish we had even more people stepping to serve and volunteer so that they would experience the joy in store for His people as we are intentional in service to reflect the Gospel.
a. Vertical – God loves me even when I am a turd. When I make bad decisions, continually say the wrong things, and even when I am worshipping self more than Him. God shows me so much grace.
b. Horizontal – As a husband, I am called to love my wife like Jesus loves the church. That’s pretty heavy, but when I am intentional to be patient, loving, and selfless in leading my wife and my kids I am also able to see why loving them this way should be much easier. I see the beauty and giftedness of my wife and wonder why I would ever be a jerk. I see the wonderment in my kids and the innocence in their eyes that make me want to protect and lead them better every day. God makes me want more out of myself as a husband and father when I seek to share His heart for my family.
“Lord, I don’t ask you for much today, I just ask that you give me your heart for the people in our church, in my workplace, and the people you bring into my life today.” This may just seem like a silly practice, and honestly maybe it is. I would just challenge you to this- Commit to praying this for 30 days. Every day, sincerely pray this prayer and from the deepest part of you mean it. Today it may seem silly, and in 30 days it may still seem silly, but if you will give this a shot I would love to know how you feel about this at the end of the 30 days. Good or bad, I want to hear about your experience with this challenge.
If you will give this serious effort email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know you are up for this challenge. Keep me posted as you are doing this challenge and at the end I want to know all about your experience. Will you accept? I double dog dare you.