Being Proud

Dear Church,

I had a great visit with George and Sharon Dinkel this past week.  They sit together all the way in the back, which is ironic in that George is notorious for not turning on his hearing aid.  I can tease him a bit because not only am I George’s pastor, but I also have become his friend as a Chaplain to the South Holland Fire Department where George serves as support staff.  Sharon has MS and does not attend worship as frequently as George.  It’s just harder for her to get around and she’s usually in at least a moderate level of pain.

I went to visit them on a Monday.  The day before they had cashed in on their Christmas present from their three kids.  All eighteen Dinkels went down to the city of Chicago to the House of Blues for a dinner theater.  They showed me videos of their grandsons and their sons-in-law dancing.  They showed me pictures of Sharon raising her hands in the middle of a long banquet table with a daughter on one side of her and a granddaughter on the other.  And after I saw all the videos and pictures, they then proceeded to tell me how proud they are of their kids.  How thankful they are that everyone gets along.  How cool it is that cousins love being together.  And above all, how proud they are that everyone knows and loves the Lord.

Grandparents are supposed to brag about their grandkids.  That’s part of the job of being a grandparent.  Being proud of your grandkids does not in any way infringe on pride, which C.S. Lewis once said, “is the root of all sin.”  George and Sharon are super proud of their kids and grandkids – and they should be!  In fact, they nearly got choked up talking about one granddaughter who recently had hip surgery and how she was giving testimonies to the doctors and nurses in how she had been praying for a successful surgery and to be able to manage the pain.

I know a lot about your grandkids from all your stories.  I love hearing about all the amazing things they are doing.  But what I love most is to see the joy in your eyes when you tell me about your grandkids.  There’s a wonderful mixture of pride, joy, and gratitude.  I’ve been thinking a lot about that as of late.  George and I know that it doesn’t take but one or two sentences before he’s giving me an update on his grandson’s baseball game or the mission trip his granddaughter just returned from.

I wonder, if we are so quick to be proud, to brag about and to tell others about our grandkids, are we that quick to be proud, to brag about and to tell others about Jesus?  Why is it so natural and easy for us to tell others about our grandkids and seemingly so foreign for us to tell others about Jesus?  I’m sure there are a thousand, thousand good reasons for this, but then again, I wonder if each of us would tell others about Jesus half as much as we told others about our kids or grandkids, what would that do for us and others spiritually?

I find myself guilty of this all the time.  I send texts and emails of pictures and videos of Willem golfing to everyone I think would get a kick out of it.  Why am I less inclined to send an email or a text of encouragement or to ask someone if I can pray for them?  What is really more important?  I don’t think it’s because we’re not proud of Jesus, or thankful for the grace that we have been in given in Christ; but I do wonder why talking about these types of things seems less commonplace.

So, perhaps as we round out another week in our Lenten journey, consider the distribution of your sharing, posting, commenting, sending and talking.  Is there anything of the love of Jesus in there?  If we can tell others-seemingly strangers-about our grandkids, don’t you think we have it in us to tell others about the Good News of Jesus Christ?

Grace & Peace,

Pastor Matt

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