Saturday Sermon: Remember, it's not all about you
It's one of those memories I watch again and again in the DVR of my mind. I was a seminary student working at a church in the inner city of Milwaukee.
Many evenings after a visit or Bible study, I would sit with the pastor of the church in his office and just talk. One evening as we spoke, he told me something that still echoes in my ears 15 years later. He said, "The most important lesson I've learned in my ministry is that it's not about me."
It's not about me. For 15 years, I have struggled to remember that poignant truth because honestly, it feels good when it is about me. It feels good when I go down to the nursing home and the people treat me like the best thing since sliced bread. It feels good when I walk out of church and my members tell me they enjoyed the sermon I preached. It feels good when my people around me respect, support and encourage me.
But because it feels so good, I can easily start making this all about me - wanting everybody to love me, trying to make me look good, doing this for me. That's dangerous, though. It's dangerous because when there's a problem, then it's all about me.
When offerings or attendance go down, when people are upset, then it's all about me. Then I start feeling sorry for myself, wondering what I am doing wrong, wondering why they are doing this to me.
Thankfully, this isn't about me. I am no one's savior. I have not nor will I ever give anyone faith. My job is simply to be a messenger, a spotlight, shining everyone's attention on our Savior, Jesus. This isn't about me.
And it's not about you. Church isn't about you. It isn't about making you feel good or comfortable or appreciated. It isn't about all the good things you do at your church or whether or not anyone notices what you do. Church isn't about you.
In fact, your life isn't even about you. You aren't the reason you exist. Your purpose here on Earth is not you. It's not about you. It's not about me.
It's all about Jesus. It's about how our God loved us so much that he suffered the punishment for all the times you and I have made it about us. In his great selflessness, he suffered the punishment of our selfishness so that we could live with him forever in the happiness of heaven.
He is our Savior. He is our God. He is the reason we live and breathe and exist. All of this - your church, your life, your existence - is about thanking him for what he has done for you.
It's not about me. For 15 years, I have struggled to remember that truth. It's a hard lesson to learn and accept. But when we do, when we keep our focus on our Savior and all he has done for us in his love, then we find true peace. Then we find our true purpose.
Andrew Schroer is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Edna.