When we have a dream, we suddenly have a problem.
We have a tangible goal. A hope. Something vulnerable and able to be destroyed. We know this - and we have an enemy that knows this, too. He hates our callings and God-given dreams, and he knows that our own selfish ambition will eventually be our own self-destruction.
Of course we work wisely and shrewdly and make the best choices that we can with what we have in a moment. But we know what's in our hearts... we know the dark corners where our ambitions and vanity and selfish pride all hiss and gnash their teeth, trying to frighten the equally ugly demons of fear and insecurity. We opened our hearts wide, so wide, when we were seeking the dream - but we didn't seem them all scurrying in under our feet.
We push them back into their corners, but we let them live there. We think we need the little devils to keep us in line. We need the ambition because we don't want to lose our "fight." We pet the insecurity because we think it softens our pride. And all the while we don't need any of them because we are not so outnumbered as we think. We don't need an army of emotions and ambitions to help our dream "survive" because living out the dream isn't just a battle to be fought, it also a feast to be enjoyed.
And Jesus says some really good stuff about feasts.
The Wedding Feast
Jesus said when we enter into the feast, we should not seek the place of highest honor for ourselves. Instead, we accept a lowly place and allow the host to invite us into a higher position. (If pride comes before the fall, then jumping into the best seat at the table apparently comes just before the Master of the Feast awkwardly clears his throat and suggests we take the seat he has actually assigned for us.) Because, yes, sometimes he will place us in positions of success and honor to be strategic people of influence and purpose. But sometimes he protects us from places of honor in an unexpected and yet equally strategic and purposeful way. Bottom line- the best way to know where he wants us is to let him invite us there himself.
The Great Banquet
He also says that when we are planning our own banquet feast, we should think twice about our invite list. Instead of filling the table with our close friends, family, and rich neighbors, we should actually invite the poor, crippled, lame, and blind. Because - and here's the clencher- the first group might want to return the favor. He says it like it's a dangerous outcome to be avoided: "You never know when they might turn around and invite you back!" But that's the heart of it; our callings are not about ourselves. Our God-given purposes are meant to serve the Kingdom, therefore they are always about other people and not ourselves. So while we learn to network and grow and mature in our skills, we also stay wary of the little devil that wants an earthly return on every investment. We don't have to chase after prosperous connections, we just seek needs and meet them. We spend our lives on the needy and Jesus says "you will be blessed because they cannot repay you."
The beautiful thing is that when God gives us a purpose, he gives us something complete. Something whole. It is not something we have to fight to manage and fix, it is something we experience as it comes into being in our lives. We abide in him, we listen to him, we move forward in him- and we let him be the one who calls the shots. Obedience is success on our parts; the road it takes depends on him.
We get to enjoy the banquet -the dream, the calling, the good works already prepared for us- because we are free to be fully present in it. We can savor the tastes of the feast and soak in the good company and conversation because we don't have to worry about seat placement. We don't have to look longingly down the table and wish we were there instead of here, or next to that person instead of this one. (Anyone who has ever been a middle-schooler knows how all that will consume you until the joy of the thing is gone.)
The thing is, we know the Host of the Banquet is watching the feast and he has his eye on us. We can obey freely and enjoy fully in every course of every meal because we know that, if needed, he will make his way down the aisle and whisper, "Friend, move higher." And then we will obey again.
So we can sweep the demons out. We don't need their advice or their influence. We don't need ambition or pride or insecurity sitting on our shoulders at this beautiful feast, trying to make us choke on the bread and wine so lovingly prepared for us.
---------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. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
A bunch of lovely, dreaming ladies link-up every Tuesday at HollyGerth.com to share dream stories. Joining in the fun today!