Mark 3:6 “Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.” Last night Elaine and I opened a Clubhouse room on women in entrepreneurship, and one of the participants asked an interesting question about how to earn the respect (and open the checkbooks) of VCs who are mostly men. “When men are assertive, they’re seen as confident. When women are assertive, they’re seen as aggressive or bossy. How should I act in my pitch?” My response was that you’re always going to have some people who don’t like you, regardless of what style you choose. So just be yourself, and if some subset of investors doesn’t like that, then they’re probably not the right partners for you anyway. Even most non-believers would agree that Jesus had more impact on this world than any other single human being. Yet even He had his detractors. The Pharisees were so jealous of Jesus and his miracles, that in Mark 3 they began to plot his murder. I guess playa hatin’ goes back way before the days of gangsta rap. The more we humble ourselves and align ourselves with the heart of the Father, the more God lifts us up and uses us for the Kingdom. And the more God lifts us up the more we have a target on our back from the enemy and jealous people in our midst. Today I feel God reminding me that I only need to be liked by one person, and He already loves me more than I can begin to imagine. Lord, you are my audience of one. I know that if I’m close to you and submit myself to your will, everything else in this world will sort itself out. I want to be a light, but I know that the source of that light is the oil of the spirit, not the praises of man. All I need is you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Matthew 6:4 “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Raising three young boys leads to a lot of love in our household, but also a lot of jealousy. We like to say that there’s an epidemic of “unfair-itis” that manifests in outbursts like “that’s not fair! I did more work than him and he got more screen time than me!” So during our devotional time the other night, I explained to the boys that these moments are actually a huge opportunity. “Every time we are treated unjustly and not given credit for our contributions, God is storing up more treasure for us in heaven. Usually, I find he gets us more reward on earth too if we can just wait it out.” Three separate times in Matthew 6 Jesus talks about this concept. If you give to the needy and people know about it, then you’ve already received your reward. If you fast and make a big production of it, then you’ve already received your reward. But if you do the right thing, and no one knows about it, your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. My natural reaction is to cringe with unfair-itis when I’m not given credit for my contributions, but over time I’ve seen again and again that God rewards me when I let him fight the battle. At work, we’ve remained quite under the radar in many ways, but He’s been orchestrating some moves that will get us credit soon for our work, many, many years after the fact. Lord, I thank you that I can take comfort in your goodness, even when the world seems unfair. I pray that you help me to have more of an eternal perspective today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Matthew 5:5 “Blessed are the meek. For they will inherit the earth.” This morning one of our founders pinged me with news that a potential partner has leaked some sensitive information to the market. It has the potential to jeopardize our position and of course both of us were naturally upset. But after collecting my thoughts a bit, I told him that I’d suffered similar situations in the past, even getting blamed for leaks that were not my doing. But I ultimately knew that even if I was hurt in the short term, I had to have faith that God would make it right in the long term. And I’ve seen God come through time and again to protect me where all my own proactive self-defense fails. I’ve read the sermon on the mount countless times, but I never really had the chance to meditate on what it means to be meek. When I think meek, I think weak. I think of a coward who can’t accomplish anything he’s set out to do because he is powerless. But today upon reflection I’m realizing that meek is not weak. Meekness points to a mildness of disposition and a gentleness of spirit that actually can only come from a rock-solid faith in God’s goodness. It comes from a place of knowing God’s strength, which is so much more powerful than our own. Lord thank you for being my rock. I know I just need to abide in you, and you will take care of the rest. The battle is won. The war has been won. Because of what you’ve already done on the cross. I love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.