* Disclaimer: This is a testimony of sorts. While I can’t say that I have made the transformation from Consumer to Contributor, I can share how Derwin Gray’s book Limitless Life opened my eyes to my need to become a more selfless Christian.
I have been in a slump lately. Yes, I am still doing all the things I am supposed to be doing, but deep down I feel a sense of sadness, emptiness, discontentment, and distance from God. I couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong. Yes, there is some “political” stuff going on in my church and feelings are running passionate, but these feelings of sadness and emptiness are more personal, so I knew there was something more. I couldn’t figure it out. Well, until I read Chapter 7 of the Limitless Life.
“We exist for God, God does not exist for us.”-Derwin Gray
My relationship with the Lord, my walk with the Lord, has gotten more about me and less about Him. My focus has been more on growing me so that I can become the person I was made to be and less about growing others and growing His kingdom. At first glance, growing myself doesn’t seem all the bad; however, I can’t neglect my other duties as a disciple of Christ in the process.
Mr. Gray points out that a lot of us are consumers in that we take, take, take, from God. Are prayers are like letters to Santa Claus. Our relationships with God are often based on what God does for us rather than what we can do for God.
Yikes! That hit a little too close to home for my liking.
Mr. Gray encourages us to be “contributors” and that immediately spoke to my heart. That is what God has been trying to get through to me. I am unhappy because I am not contributing enough as I am doing too much of the taking.
Derwin Gray, says the best way to get over “consumerism” (I say selfishness) lies in the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.
Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version (KJV)
To take Mr. Gray’s ideas and put them into my own words, in order to move from consumer to contributor we must do the following.
1. Know and believe that God is our daddy-If it was good enough for the disciples, it is good enough for us. Jesus taught the disciples to refer to God as Abba, which means daddy or papa;
2. Honor the name of God in words and actions;
3. Seek His kingdom and not our own- we need to be living our lives for God and not for ourselves. Our life here on earth should not be about us, we should be focused on building His Kingdom here and now;
4. Seek Jesus as our daily bread- we should be seeking God just as much as we seek our next meal;
5. Forgive others-because we are forgiven people we need to forgive others so that all our energy and resources are used for God and not wasted on our bitterness;
6. Know and Act like we win-if we know we can beat temptation than we will.
Limitless Life by Derwin Gray, Chapter 7: From Consumer to Contributor, PP. 143-154
As you might have guessed, the whole “building His kingdom and not our own” really hit home. Too much of my time has been spent on myself, it is passed time to focus on others.
God has convicted me. I know I must change. But as we all know, knowing and doing are two different stories. What I have I done or what will I do to start in the right direction? (Yes, I am a list kind of girl!)
After prayer, I have determined that I will start off with the following:
1. Wake up asking God what I can do to serve him;
2. Look for ways to serve God throughout the day;
3. Spend the majority of my prayer time thanking God and praying for others. I’m thinking at least 75% of my prayer time should not be focused on me;
4. Pray more. I talked to God many times throughout the day; however, I have never really established a good prayer life;
5. Start a prayer journey so it is easier to track my progress; and
6. Find a new hands on ministry where I can reach out to my community. I need to get back into the trenches and out from behind my computer.
I know these might not look like big steps, but they are a start.
I started my new prayer style last night as I went on my prayer walk. I noticed it only took me about 3 minutes before I started praying about myself. Seriously! Grrr. Now, I was praying for a heart like Jesus and for Jesus to help me love more and have a heart for the lost; nevertheless, it was a prayer for me. I was quick to realize it, but it really hit me once again, that I have some changing to do.
How about you, do you have some changing to do?
If you have read Chapter 7 of the Limitless Life, what, if anything, spoke to you?
Be blessed and be a blessing,