This year I am hearing more and more chatter about the men of IF:Gathering. As I ponder what it really means to join those ranks, these words ring out: decrease and sacrifice.
To sacrifice is to lay down one’s life for the betterment of others. The weekend of IF:Gathering, there were so many going to work to lift up those around them and glorify the King. For some, this meant a dad staying at home to care for children on his own, and ending up watching extra kids, in order to make attendance possible for a mom in need. Grandparents or baby-sitters standing in the gap and caring for a sick child. Giving up two days to help park cars and take out trash at big events. In my place, it also looked like neighbors coming over to help move giant furniture downstairs to my living room, or making sure my technology was ready to go, or dropping off air mattresses to help me more comfortably accommodate a few more ladies in my home. It was husbands who quickly resolve to join you in a day of fasting and prayer for a cause that doesn’t directly involve them. It is the unglamorous work of going behind the scenes and just plain old helping out.
I am humbled. And I am so thankful.
When I reflect on these people willingly giving of their time and energy (and muscle) to carry out menial tasks, I am reminded so strongly that we are all in this to glorify Him, no matter the task. It’s all important to the Ultimate Cause, even when it doesn’t glorify US, or isn’t the most fun job. Here I struggle: in the small stuff.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…Colossians 3:23
Perhaps our friend John the Baptist , the original IF:Man, said it best:
And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him.’ The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:26-30
In other words, that Jesus guy is not stealing my show. He IS The Show. I have played my small part in this Big Thing He is doing. And now, after pointing the way to Him, I must step aside, because He is really all we need.
If you have an “IF:Men” story to share, post it in the comments! I would love to hear!