Self-doubt + comparison + outward focus = Bitter Servant
Today was not a successful day in the “good” Christian department. If God were grading me, I would get an “F” for effort and an “A+” for bitter comparison.
For the longest time I had been harbouring anger and frustration towards one of my less than hard working classmates. In order to take this training program that I am enrolled in I had to make significant sacrifices of my time, finances and energy. These are three areas in my life that I cannot be slack with. These are the resources I have the least of. Unfortunately these are the three resources that are required in order to reach my career calling.
This was an epic morning where I unleashed my frustration towards my classmate. I let it be known that I didn’t appreciate the fact that on a daily basis she doesn’t follow instructions, she slows down the progress of the class, she doesn’t have to hand in assignments according to deadlines like the rest of us, and she doesn’t have to do assignments on her own; instead, she has other people do the bulk of the work for her and then she hands them in.
I was feeling righteous in my anger when I realised, I had no right to be angry with my classmate. I came to the realization that I was angry with her because I had to do assignments and she didn’t. Was it my business that she contributed minimal effort to assignments and hardly followed classroom rules and procedures. The answer I felt from the Holy Spirit was, “No”.
I had to accept that if God has given me a calling in any area of my life, it is not up to me to look at others and be upset because I have to do the work, while they don’t. When the Spirit prompts us to do something, the message is for us as an individual and it is not for anyone else. How did I lose sight of this? Was it a plank in my eye? Well… not exactly.
What happened to me today is something I call Bitter Servanthood (B.S.). B.S. happens when God or His Spirit calls you to do something, it can be big or small. You respond and you follow this calling, but as days pass you realise the work is difficult, frustrating, and tangibly unrecognizable to others. Eventually you become bitter that others are happily doing their own thing while you are busy “having to serve God”. This happens when we allow our eyes and hearts to shift focus from what we are meant to be doing and instead, focus our eyes on what others are doing.
Bitter Servanthood is real and it happens to all of us at some point in our Christian walk. Our callings are not always a smooth process and we need to be careful not to allow our thoughts to shift to what we think we are missing out on. When we keep our attention on God and serving those who He brings across our path, we won’t have time or the desire to look at others and become bitter or frustrated about what they aren’t contributing or not doing. Staying focused on our self brings a sense of peace within; develops faith in our work; and trust that God’s direction is in action.
My wish for you and for myself is that you develop trust and not bitterness while engaging in whatever it is that our Father has called you to. It is not easy to watch others succeed quicker, make more money without much effort or live a life with plenty of spare time to idle and have unlimited fun; but my fellow believers, please trust that God has your best interest at heart. Whatever we have to sacrifice in order to do His will, is nothing when we realise He is doing amazing, supernatural work behind the scenes. God is doing the work that we as humans cannot; He is setting things in order.
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
Are there areas in your life where you are experiencing B.S.? Do you feel bitter about doing certain things that you know is the right thing to do? Are you losing the joy and happiness you once had while serving others?
Pray. Honestly ask God to reveal any areas in your life where you have become a Bitter Servant. Take time to honestly inventory the reasons why you may be feeling this way. If you come to the decision that it is time to make changes, ask God to reveal to you what your next steps are (e.g. take a break, quit, scale back, time for an uncomfortable talk with others, etc.)
Have no fear, God is a gentle God and will never punish or be angry with you for bringing your hurts, fears, and insecurities to Him. God is a revealer and a healer!