It is very easy to find fault in others, to “Monday-morning quarterback” or to offer unsolicited advice. We can pick up what someone else should have said and done and come up with half a dozen different ways that they can get better. And sometimes, we even make it our own personal mission or project to fix someone else. But do we stop and consider ourselves before we step in and lend a hand?
For 2013, I set out to read through the New Testament. I am a Christian so spending time in the Bible should be part of my daily life. I am a gadget guy so naturally I have a Bible app that I can read from. I use a widely popular app called YouVersion. It has a feature called Plans, where one can select from dozens of Bible reading plans. I am using the Discipleship Journal 5x5x5 reading plan. Its description – 5 minutes a day, 5 days a week, 5 ways to dig deeper. I read a chapter a day, and yesterday the chapter was Mark 7.
The verses that caught my attention were verses 9-13. In paraphrasing, Jesus basically tells the Pharisees that they are breaking the commandments through their hypocritical behaviors. On one hand they recognize the commandment to honor their father and mother, which is Biblical. But on the other hand the Pharisees had a custom that whatever the parents would have gained from the child must instead be given to God. Jesus called them out, saying that by their actions they rejected the word of God.
This isn’t the typical chapter we read on taking care of our own household first. But I was convicted on this premise when I heard Dr. Andy Stanley’s monthly leadership podcast. He is not a fan of resolutions; he prefers goals instead. And one thing he talked about in the January podcast was “be” goals versus “do” goals. Often we focus on things we plan to do, but our legacy in life is largely shaped by who we are. So, in short, his message was to focus first on who we want to “be”come, then the things that we need to do will come naturally after.
Which got me to thinking – am I taking care of my own house first? In another passage of scripture, 1 Timothy 5:8 states that if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his own house, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Taken a step further, are we spending too much time in the affairs of others that we’re missing the mark in our own? This is something that I have to be careful about as I work with others. I have to be sure that those God has entrusted me with, my family, have their own needs met first. And in order for me to care for others, I have to ensure that my “house” – me personally – is in order. Otherwise, what I say is inconsistent with what I do, and I become a hypocrite.
So how do you deal with this personally and professionally? As you have overcome these challenges, would you be willing to share with other readers? If so, please comment below!