“What’s In It for Me?” (#564)

It's such an easy trap to fall into. How many times have we seen people start out sharing a gift God has given them with others and end up using that gift to serve themselves? In this age of self-promotion the temptation has never been greater, especially if we want our gift to build our influence, satiate our ego or provide for our income stream. When ministry shifts from, "How can I serve you?" to, "What's in it for me?" everything valuable gets lost and we end up exploiting people instead of serving them. "Freely you have received, freely give," is how Jesus told us to live. In this podcast, Brad and Wayne talk about the danger of serving ourselves with the gifts God has given us instead of employing them to help others.

Podcast Notes:
The Shack Trailer
George Michael Quotes
Ann Voskamp article in Christianity Today
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  1. I have to keep in mind that I have poor personal boundaries–I’ll offer to help someone and before I know it I’m in over my depth and letting them use me as a door mat. It’s a narrow path with deep ditches on both sides I suspect.

  2. I think some people are just conditioned to seek out answers from other people versus observing and listening to life and to God, and getting the answers for ourselves. On the one hand, it can seem flattering or impressive that someone is inquisitive, but it also reveals some laziness when a person always is asking questions, particularly of the same person. (Doesn’t scripture talk about always asking and never arriving at truth? Sadly, many people confuse an answer with the truth.) I just get the sense that all they want is “the” answer. They’re not interested in mystery or exploration. Not long ago I had someone question me on a post I liked on Facebook and after a short exchange in which she was pressing for me to answer in a way that aligned with what she believes, I told her I didn’t feel obligated to respond. I don’t think she was expecting that. 🙂

  3. @Lila – Ditto…here.
    Have slowly begun to learn to not play God’s little helper. We get sucked into doing this rather than following the organic rhythms of the Spirit which dwell in our hearts already. Good parenting skills stylized through patience, much better. Learning to even let people fail will help them turn a corner. Until someone’s beliefs fail them, they will not be able to see truth; this is the same for all of us. The abandoned pressure of celebrity upon the soul has sent many down a road of self discovery – they could no longer allow others to dictate who they were. Great lyrics guys to a truly awesome song.

  4. It is refreshing to not only see the Shack movie come to fruition, but not let the falling out with Paul Young create a permanent grudge, leaving followers to choose sides between one or the other. I have seen that in the entertainment field many times and as a ‘fan’, it only creates discourse and negative feelings. You guys somehow dealt with it and put it in the rearview mirror, and now we have this wonderful creation.

    There are many that have nothing to do with creation of an art form, when it becomes a huge money-maker, depend on that creation for their livelihood, from the publishing company on down. I’m sure there were some that clamored for a Shack series of books, or will clamor for a Shack movie sequel, just to line their pockets. But somehow you stayed strong, stayed true to yourselves and were able to take the time necessary to create something to be proud of, not simply to line other people’s pockets.

  5. Your conversation reminded me of this quote:

    “You may think you’re in obscurity right now because you’ve done something wrong. You may think you’re in the wilderness because you’ve been cursed or abandoned by God. But if you’re in the wilderness, I’d like to suggest it’s because you are so desperately loved. What if you’re living in obscurity because God is so intent on showing you things about yourself that you would not otherwise see and revealing things about His love that you would not otherwise have known?

    Obscurity is where God sends all of His favorite sons and daughters. Our society tells us that if and when we get “there”—the job or position or degree we’ve always wanted, the notoriety we’ve always dreamed of—that’s when all the important stuff will start happening. Not so.

    All the good stuff happens in obscurity.” (Prototype, Jonathan Martin)

    • I love that Geneva. Thanks for sharing.

      In Biblical terms, the first shall be last, and the last, first. Many times I’ve heard the saying, ‘I’ve climbed the ladder of success, only to find out it is leaning against the wrong wall.’ I have not had enough success in the world to comment on being on both sides of the equation, and deciding which one is better. Best sometimes, maybe in this case, it is better to learn from others’ mistakes, instead of your own.

      With obscurity comes privacy. That is the one thing successful people (in the world’s eyes) lament the most about in their prior lives, the loss of privacy. With that privacy, though, also comes responsibility. It doesn’t mean I can do anything I want and get away with it, it is that I can do good things anonymously, I don’t have to be worried about being ‘puffed up’ because those who have a little life under their belts know, life is tough and at times beats you up to the point of despair.

      I think it is sad for those who coast through much of life due to their worldly success never have to face the temporal reality of their lives, often until it is too late. They live their lives in the ‘WIIFM’, and realize it is a lonely place. Life is not about me, it is about living for others and the sooner I realize it, the more I can come to terms with life when it doesn’t provide me with the things I want, or think I need.

  6. George Michael’s quotes and the remark of Brad about making art really spoke to me. It helped me understand why it goes against my grain to become a full-time artist (painting). It would mean spending 50% of my time promoting myself.

    Brad’s comment also speaks to the problem of a lot of Christian art and why it often has the reputation of being bad art – Christians are often so intent on communicating “their answers” that there is not much left for anybody to discover themselves. Real art happens between the piece of art and the observer!

  7. First, and not trying to be negative, Wayne you fell into a quieter almost mumble at several points and I could not understand what you said even with the volume way up. Granted I do not have great hearing, but I would appreciate it if you could make an effort there. Thank you. Second, I really question the fruit of this movie after, as you said Brad, it has been through the gauntlet. Can we really expect the message of this to be the same? I don’t think so, though I really hope it is used similarly.
    “Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following [the heathen nations]…; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. ” Deut 12:30,31
    Sounds just like Holly Wood to me.

    • Hi Rory. We tried to warn people we weren’t in our regular studio and thus the audio would be a bit sketchy. And there was a point where my mic had fallen and I didn’t realize it for awhile. If you give me the time count, I’ll go back to the original file and see if I can boast my channel and make that sound more bearable. Sorry for the inconvenience. As to THE SHACK, you might want to see it before you make assumptions. Brad fought hard and prevailed in the most important bits. I think the message is intact there and would say otherwise if I didn’t… And Brad would too!

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