Los Alamos Church of Christ
For the last several weeks we have been exploring the Caregiver temperament.
We have learned so far…
--Everyone loves caregivers. Whether you are one or not, you should say… “I love you” to the caregivers in your life. I suspect they are the most popular of the temperaments. I would recommend marrying one.
--Caregivers, as they see Jesus; as they touch Jesus; as they serve Jesus through others; they find the sweet spot of worship
--There is power in the touch of Jesus. There is power in the touch of a caregiver touching Jesus.
--We have 12 general Caregivers, 30 Specialized; diffed up like this…
Minister Caregivers – 8
Counselor Caregivers – 18
Servant Caregivers – 20
Hospitality Caregivers – 16
Giver Caregivers – 24
We might use this information to plot church strategy.
--We gave ourselves an assignment last week… You were not just to do this assignment for the sake of the service. You were to remember to do it for Jesus; in worship of Jesus; in order to find the sweet spot of worship. The point of exercise was to touch Jesus. Anyone want to share?
--There are the benefits of learning to be a caregiver who touches Jesus… beyond the actual help given.
1) You bring glory to the Father. Every father is honored when their children are cared for. I am proud when my kids are honored. YHWH is glorified when his son is served.
2) You are transformed. In giving you become like Christ. Jesus, the ultimate caregiver, calls to the LORD of harvest to send forth caregivers… you can be changed to be one.
3) You can find sweet spots of worship. How precious it is to learn to worship as you are wired.
4) You become persistent. If you serve in order to touch Jesus, you are never disappointed. The lack of appreciation from people, the lack of results, the whining from those who are helped, the disappointments diminish because you are touching Jesus. Therefore, you can be persistent.
We have learned quite a lot about caregiving, already. But this morning we have some more to learn.
This morning let’s look at some of the dangers of caregiving, the traps which can suck the life out of caregiving... Let’s look at the dark-side of caregiving.
One of the components of our 2016…Connections theme is that we see how Satan schemes to pervert our temperaments. Satan wishes to maim our temperaments. This is even true with caregivers. Satan takes those wired for caregiving and injects a small dose of pride. This pride, like an infection, grows from within to pervert the motivations of the caregiver… turning their good to the dark-side. The infections, if unchecked can be fatal to the caregiver.
Interestingly, there is a danger associated with each of the 5 specializations of caregiving. Let me note that there may be other dangers. Some of these cross over between the specializations. So, if you are a caregiver; in general, or within any of the 5… pay attention. It would be sad to miss those sweet spots of worship because your service has been… infected.
--Minister Caregivers. People who connect to God through actual hands-on helping can become obsessed. When pride is injected into the ministry, people become the point… not only the point, but, the only point. “Obviously, Caregiving is the most important temperament. It is the only thing that matters. Everyone must be involved in serving. Those other temperaments are only distractions. They don’t actually do anything or help anyone. We must help those who are hurting. We must assist the harassed. We have to lead the shepherdless. Nothing else matters.” Because ministers do help others, they can become obsessed with heling… Intolerant to those who don’t… infected with the pride of helping…
Listen to what Jesus told Judas when Judas argued like a caregiver…
ESV John 12:1-8 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at the table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, "Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me."
There are always people to help but anointing Jesus is precious.
Caregiving is not a license to be intolerant of others who connect to God in different ways.
--Counselor Caregivers. These caregivers are wired to listen; to advise; to comfort… which can be infected with pride to move the caregiver to invest in those they help. When this pride is connected to the results of how successful the helpee is. The Counselor caregiver’s motivation then is to be successful. Their importance is based on how well the other does. They can move to the dark-side to become personally invested in the success of how well the other does. The other person’s choices become caregiver’s level of value. Failures are shared. Victories are for both.
There is an interesting verse in John, early on in Jesus’s ministry, where Jesus refuses to do this.
ESV John 2:24-25 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.
Jesus did not put his faith in man… Jesus did not trust who he was with the success of his ministry. We help to give glory to the Father… beside of whether it “works” or not.
ESV Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."
The kingdom of heaven belongs to the… kids.
Servant caregivers serve Jesus not stuff.
--Hospitality Caregivers. Those who love to make you feel welcome can move to the dark-side of being a people pleaser. People pleasers feel their worth is measured in how many people like them. On Facebook or in real-life they want to get smiley faces. Have you noticed on Facebook you don’t just like you put different emoticons… Hospitality Caregivers and many others only want thumbs and smiles. Conflict is to be avoided. Criticism is devastating. People pleasers go to extraordinary lengths to make others happy. Not so much in the warmth of Christ, but the more people like them the more valuable they feel. Pleasing people can lead to compromising choices.
ESV Matthew 6:5 "And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”
Hospitality Caregivers need to offer the warmth of the LORD.
--Giver Caregivers. The dark-side of giver caregivers is the recognition. Pride easily interjects itself into money. “The wealthy are obviously more important. They are treated different. They are valued. They must fight pride.” There must be a deep satisfaction in getting something named for you. It is a bit odd how many celebrities have foundations named for themselves. Helping to feel superior to the ones they are helping.
As another dark-side of this pride is the statement… “I don’t take charity.” Not letting others grace you with kindness is a mark of the pride of money.
ESV 1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
Moving back to the light-side of caregiving… Healthy way to view our caregiving…
Listen to Jesus. This statement has haunted me…
ESV Matthew 16:24-25 Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”
Wait a second… take up his cross. The cross meant death. The cross is a burden. The cross is the electric chair; lethal injection only way more brutal. Take up your death and follow me. Then Jesus follows it up with if you would save your life you lose. If you lose your life… death for my sake you win? Is Jesus saying we must be martyrs or else we are not following him? Do I need to get someone to crucify me… literally?
Here is a thought that harmonizes Matthew 16 and moves us back to the light-side of caregiving.
Love is the allocation of our dying. What? Life is a finite resource. Even if you live to be 101 like Grandma Flowers… every moment of your life has a limited supply. Every minute that passes is a passing of life, a movement toward death. We use up every moment, never to get that moment back. “This doesn’t sound very light. It sounds pretty depressing.”
In our limited supply of moments, we have choices in how these moments are expended. We can allocate our dying. We can specify the times and the places and the way we use up our moments.
Here is the point, because life is a finite resource, giving ourselves to others, offering up ourselves as caregivers, is a very real sort of sacrifice. It's not suicidal or dysfunctional, but it is sort of like being a martyr. In that I am literally dying the minutes I serve you. To be with you--to love you—to offer you my help is to die a little bit… a sacrificial giving of my life for another.
When we think of "giving our lives away" our minds tend to jump to the dramatic. And it can be that sort of thing. In crisis situations people do act heroically, giving their lives in a big single action to save others. But I wonder if the difference here is more quantitative rather than qualitative, a matter of degree rather than of kind. Because to love other people in small but tangible ways over a lifetime is a way of dying. A bit a slower, drip, drip, drip rather than splash. But giving your life, giving your moments, in service of another little by little is not less a sacrifice.
So, when Jesus challenges us to take up our cross we fulfill this challenge in the everyday, every moment of caregiving. When we offer another moments of our time in service… for the sake of Jesus; in order to touch Jesus; in finding sweet spots of worship… we take up our cross and follow Jesus!
Caregiving is a sacrifice, an expenditure. Caregiving is a beautiful way to live, which means this offering of care is, in the final analysis, a beautiful way to die.
Caregivers take up their crosses in order to follow Jesus. Allocate your giving… each precious moment… chosen to be given to our LORD!
Stand and join me in reciting The Shema… which offers our everything…
ESV Mark 12:29-30 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
My temperament is God’s gift to me.
My temperament is my gift to God.
My temperament is my gift to the body.
My temperament is my gift to the world.
March 13, 2016
Los Alamos Church of Christ