Spring has sprung here in France”"flowers blooming in a riot of colors, grass and trees decked out in their finest shades of green greet you as you saunter by.
The other morning I awoke to a bird serenade. It sounded like they were having an 'American Idol” competition for the birds (no pun intended. Well, not too much anyway). There were really getting down.
We've been a little shocked at how expensive everything is here, because of the weakness of the dollar. But I remarked to my wife, 'The singing of those birds is worth 100 euros per month.”
I had to leave early that morning and I strode to the car with a spring in my step and in my spirit. Then I saw something that irritated me. One of those wonderful feathered friends had bombed the driver's window of my vehicle. From the looks of his work, it may have been a sick bird.
Stupid feather head! Mark that 100 euros a month down to 25!
Birds have downsides as well as upsides.
Actually, that pretty well describes all of us doesn't it? If someone tells you that he comes with no downside, just ask his wife to see if it's really true. I suspect her story differs a bit from his.
The Bible says,
'Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18, NIV)
But let me ask you, how many proud people have you ever known who knew they were proud?
'I'm self-assured,” they might say. Most of us in our reflective moments will admit to a struggle with pride, but who really thinks he is proud?
That goes for almost all our character faults. Everyone else but us sees them. So if we want to be like the Lord, how do we find our downsides and correct them?
A good place to look for your greatest fault is in your greatest strength!
Wait, wait, wait, David. What are you talking about?
Have you ever noticed that a man who perseveres, who never gives up no matter what, also has a real tendency to be as stubborn as a mule in all areas of his life? So, that great general who never backed down before the enemy in his life, makes the existence of his wife and children miserable because he never changes his mind, never dreams that he could be wrong.
Or how about that fellow who gets along with everyone? You really like him because he's such an encourager, he builds you up, he's always positive. What a great guy.
The problem is that he's so worried about what you think that he can't bring himself to tell you the truth, if it's negative. You might not like him so much after that. I saw a basketball coach like that one time. He was really positive and even when his players took a stupid shot it was, 'Way to go! You'll do better next time.”
It's wonderful to be an encourager but someone who won't speak honestly, even when it hurts, needs some help from the Lord.
You may be an apostle Paul, super committed to getting the job done. But look at Barnabas, Paul. Don't forget the importance of individuals while you're sacrificing everything to reach the masses.
And if you're a Barnabas, you've got to remember that sometimes protecting individuals from the results of their actions hinders them instead of helping them.
My wife and I have a wonderful marriage because each of us uses his strong points. My wife is a real servant. Her strong point is service. My strong point is that I like to be served. Isn't it wonderful how the Lord puts people together? (Do you detect a slight weak point that I might want to work on?)
If you're looking for weak spots in your life you might start with your strong points. The Lord wants us to be like Him in our upsides and our downsides.
Meanwhile, I've been putting off washing that car window. Guess I ought to get at it”¦eventually.