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The Christian Life Is Wishful Thinking

What we want for ourselves becomes what we offer to others.

It was a typical Friday night at the Wilkin house. A spontaneous dinner had collected a growing number of neighbors and friends. As the kitchen swelled with people and chatter, I leaned over to each of my kids and whispered the code they were probably expecting: “FHB.”

Family hold back. Maybe you know this strategy, too. Surveying the food relative to the guests, it became apparent that we needed a nonmiraculous solution for our five loaves and two fishes. My husband prayed over the meal and then, quietly, the Wilkins slipped to the back of the line, serving themselves minimal portions to stretch the food. They knew they wouldn’t go without; it was not a matter of if they would eat but when. Worst case, we’d order a pizza once the guests had gone home.

Nobody wants to be at the end of the line. Given the choice, we want to go first, to get the full portion, to sit in the most comfortable chair. But Christ-followers understand that life is about more than doing what we want. It’s about doing what we wish.

Let me explain.

We can all imagine times when we wanted to be treated better, when we longed for more care, recognition, and grace than we received from others. We may look back and think, I wish my failures would be treated with gentleness. I wish I had received support during a hard season. I wish I had received love instead of rejection. I wish that anniversary had been remembered or that milestone had been acknowledged. I wish I would be made to feel needed, included, significant, treasured.

We are not wrong to hold these wishes. They illustrate the basic human need to be known, loved, and accepted. And what we do with how we feel about our wishes, met and unmet, will shape the course of our …

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