Spending a week stewarding was a rather interesting experience. Armed with hi-vis jackets, smiles and hand waving gestures to move people into their seats proved to bring out the best and worst in people.
It was an interesting exercise in watching how people react when you tell them what to do or where to sit.
You think that being at a Christian conference everything should be sweet and fluffy like marshmallows with cinnamon sprinkled on top. But our hearts are deceptive. And the sinful nature wages war in our souls.
When our comfort and desires are threatened by a first world problem of sitting in a seat that wasn’t our first choice it can cause great sparks and grumbling. Annoyance flares up and as a steward trying to help people get to their seats it was somewhat disheartening to see people angry at you because they are not sitting in the seat of their choosing. (However there were some with good reasons to want to sit somewhere else: bad neck, back etc)
But I am no innocent party here. My heart began dripping with frustration as people ignored and muttered as they filed into their seats. It was hard not to get angry and not to shout.
I noticed how I wanted control and was annoyed when people didn’t listen. As I reflect on this now i’ve observed that our hearts love comfort and control.
We like to be comfortably in control and in control of our comfort.
Anything that threatens this brings out a nasty side of us. It’s heart issue, deep down we want our own way, we want our comfort and we will do our utmost to preserve these two things because we love ourselves.
There were other people who were a delight. Smiles and nods. Going where they were asked without a problem. They were easier to love. They were a joy to serve.
Again my heart deceives me. It’s easy to love the lovable. It’s easy to serve the joyful ones. It was harder to love the grumblers and mumbles. It was harder to smile at the frowns and frustrations. Isn’t that true of life? We place people on a scale of how worthy they are to be served and loved? If they are low on that scale then we scorn and our serving is sour at best and extinct at worst. But if they are charming and pleasant then we will bend over backwards because they are deserving.
Jesus calls us to love our enemies. But these people aren’t my enemies. They are brothers and sisters and yet I have placed them on a scale of how deserving they are of my love and service. The heart is a crooked device!
It is odd that such a first world problem of where people sit could bring about these reflections. Because in reality who cares where you sit? In the grand scheme of life and eternity it doesn’t matter whether someone got the seat they wanted or whether they sat in the seat I told them to. It is just curious that our and most certainly my heart should react in these strange ways.
I am so glad that Jesus has a pure heart and loved the despised and unlovely. He loved his enemies and all those undeserving. He did not hold on to his comfort but gladly gave it up.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8, ESV)