"It's Not Your Party!"

A story and powerful point of perspective from Paul Tripp as told in Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands:

In 1978 I did one of the most courageous things in my life: I became a kindergarten teacher!

One Monday afternoon, the mother of one of my novice academics asked if she could have a birthday party for her daughter in the classroom on the following Friday. The day came, and after the mother’s frenetic preparation, we all entered the room. She had turned our little classroom into a birthday kingdom! The walls and table were lavishly decorated, multi-colored streamers hung from the ceiling, and a balloon within a balloon was tied to the back of each chair. At each seat was a ribbon-tied cellophane bag of party favors. The only exception was the birthday girl, who was surrounded by a huge pile of beautifully-wrapped gifts.

At the far end of the table sat Johnny. Johnny kept doing the same thing over and over. He would look at his little bag of party favors, then at the birthday girl’s mountain of gifts, fold his arms, stick out his lower lip, and let out an audible “HUMPH!” Each time, the look on his face got more ugly and his humphing more audible. Before long he had become the center of attention and was well on his way to spoiling the party. Then one of the mothers walked over and knelt beside him. She turned his chair so that Johnny was looking directly into her face, and she spoke the profound words: “Johnny, it’s not your party!”

Johnny wasn’t supposed to be the center of attention. He wasn’t supposed to have a huge pile of gifts. It was Susie’s birthday, and everything was rightly focused on her. Johnny would never enjoy his inclusion in the event if he demanded to be the center.

So it is with the grand story of the Bible. With all of its locations and people, with all of the dramatic events of nature and history, at the center of the story is the Lord. It is his story. Paul summarizes the story this way, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen!” (Rom 11:36)

What about today? What about you?

What sort of joy might you experience if you lived in harmony with that simple truth: “It’s not my party”?

What sort of peace might you discover if you called off the pitiful pity parties that have wasted your past and are spoiling your present?

What sort of purpose might be clarified for the future if you refined your shortsighted quests to  “be the center” and reassigned those energies to living in joyful recognition of the Lord as the center of the story?

Whatever you do today, don’t forfeit your opportunity to share in the story because you can’t get over yourself.

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