Stepping Up • Part 4

There is a classic scene in the 1989 movie Field of Dreams when the main character, Ray, asks a heart-revealing question. He has been asked by a mysterious voice to transform his Iowa cornfield into a baseball field. He does everything he has been asked to do and he finally reaches his breaking point toward the end of the movie. His true heart is revealed when he angrily asks, “I’ve done everything I’ve been asked to do and I haven’t once asked what’s in it for me!” His friend then quickly responds, “What are you saying Ray?” Ray then slows down his answer and says, “I’m saying…what’s in it…for me?” These words land heavy on the viewer. We know what it feels like to have our motives exposed. All along we try to serve and give and sacrifice out of sincerity, but in the end, we all have the question, “What’s in it for me?” 

This weekend we looked at a story that also hits painfully close to home. This was the story in Joshua 7 when Achan’s selfishness and greed not only hurt him, but those around him. Achan allowed the desire for “me” to become greater than the good of “we.” In the end it not only hurt Achan, but it hurt those who lived around Achan. His unwillingness to step up and follow God by faith had a result not just in his life, but the lives of those around him.

Being a part of a church is no small deal at all. We are entering into a brotherhood and sisterhood of people who God has called together. He builds His people to do something that matters in the world. Much like the human body, all of the parts must work together in unity for the sake of the most good for His glory. Our fingers do not ask why they must do what the brain asks them to do. What’s in it for the fingers? Yet they work in unity to play out the intended function and purpose of both the brain and the fingers. If you’ve ever smashed your finger with a hammer, you know that your entire body reacts (and those around you had better cover their ears). Body parts do not have the choice of operating in an individualistic way. Each part is committed to investing in what benefits the whole instead of selfish gain. 

Another revealing phrase we often say is, “I have to” as opposed to “I get to.” There is a huge difference between “I have to go pick up the kids from school” and “I get to serve my family by picking up the kids from school.” We often are guilty of seeing serving opportunities as “taking one for the team” or as a necessary evil. Instead, what would it look like if we stepped up and said, “I have an opportunity to invest in something here that will matter for a very long time.” What if we stopped merely asking, “What’s in it for me?” Our culture is unashamedly individualistic. We live and move in our phones and devices and fenced in yards. In order to maintain our public persona, we look out for ourselves, mind our own business, and even keep our mess to ourselves. This mentality greatly damages and hinders the church.

Read the following sentence: You need people. Now read it backwards. Both statements are true. The principle that we all must accept is that we are needy and needed. Living as a community and family of faith, our church will rise and fall together. When we selflessly step up together, we can have a greater impact, everyone playing his or her part in the whole. When you don’t step up, it affects everyone around you. What would it look like for us to commit to “we” instead of “me”? What would it look like to ask, “What’s in it for us?”

True Steps

Recently, my husband and I were following God’s leading, which required us to sell our house. We knew our home had increased in value quite a bit, so we were expecting a nice profit that we could spend on a new house, new furniture, etc. This was exciting for me!

We had always made it a priority to consistently give a percentage of our income to our local church; however, after prayer and reflection of our hearts, we realized that the money from this sale was not ours, but God’s. At first, it was a hard realization, but upon surrendering this area to Jesus, we knew we wanted to give away a portion of the profit towards the furthering of God’s Kingdom. After all, He has always provided for our needs in extravagant ways (much more than just basic needs).

So we were obedient! And I can say that it was, honestly, such a fun and enriching experience to be generous in this way and acknowledge God’s work and provision in our lives in such a tangible way through giving.

Elizabeth

Personal Reflection

1. Though God is not dependent on us, how does the Journey need you to step up during this time? In other words, why is your giving commitment needed?

2. What would you say is keeping you from taking the next step on The Giving Journey?

Discussion Questions

1. What was your big takeaway from this past week’s sermon?  How about from this week’s devotional reading? 

2. Would you be willing to share with the group how you answered #1 and #2 from the Personal Reflection questions? 

3. Describe a situation when one part greatly affected the whole in a negative way. (Body injury, ingredient, car problem, etc.)

4. Can you think of an example when your desire for “me” affected “we”?

5. Would you agree that we are needy and needed? Discuss how this changes how you view your role at church.

6. How could Stepping Up as a church together have a greater impact than just a few of us Stepping Up?

7. In an unselfish way, what exactly is “in it for you” personally?

Prayer Devotions

Read – Joshua 7:1-24

Stepping Up to seek the good of others, not just living for myself. 

Achan’s selfishness not only hurt him but those around him. Your decisions not only impact you, but those around you. Achan allowed the desire for “me” to become greater than the good of “we.” When “we” don’t step up with faith in God, it hurts all of us. Let’s step up in faith, leave our selfishness behind and be the “we.” When we step up together, we make a bigger impact than stepping up alone. When we don’t step up together it affects everyone around us.    

Pray – I ask that Your Holy Spirit remove the selfishness from me. I know You want me to do what is right all the time. I am Yours Jesus; help me to eliminate any thoughts, practices, or possessions that hinder my devotion to You. Awaken me to see Your desire, turning my inward focus to an outward focus. I pray You would reveal to me my contribution to the “we.” Show me what my part is to impact Your kingdom, oh Lord.  In Jesus Name, Amen.