Years ago, there was a book called The Pineapple Story about a missionary who had a hard time loving the people he was called to minister to. He had a pineapple garden that he was trying to cultivate, but the natives kept stealing the pineapples. He was angry all the time. Then he told the natives that he had “given his pineapple garden to God.” He gave up his rights to receive the treatment he “deserved.” He stopped being angry, because it was God’s problem now. When he did that, God did some interesting things!
The story is about realizing that we are stewards, not owners—that our lives and things aren’t our own if we have given them to God. Anger comes when we hold on to our rights. It’s a matter of surrender. We could live more joyfully— maybe even love unconditionally—if we would say, “God, this is your relationship. This is your time. This is your idea. I’m going to surrender to You my agenda and my expectations.”
Will we still be disappointed and hurt sometimes? Yes, but we give that to God, too. Sometimes dealing with issues like anger is both an instant decision and a process. If you are struggling with anger issues, then let me suggest you do the following:
1. Recall what makes you angry. What are you really angry about?
2. List your rights which others are violating.
3. Transfer your rights to God. Picture yourself kneeling in the presence of God and putting your rights on the altar. Then tell God He can do whatever He wants. You are giving ownership of that to God.
4. Intentionally thank God whatever happens. God may not give you what you want for reasons you may not see. If He does, they are privileges to be used for God’s purposes.
5. Use future anger as God’s alarm system. Meekness is yielding our rights to God. Anger will point out something that needs to be let go of and given back to God.
“Keep company with Him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of Himself to us. Love like that.” Ephesians 5:2, The Message
Father’s Day is this Sunday. Come and bring all fathers and there will be a gift for you following each service. Camp Meeting in St. Marys is still going on. If you have never been before, it is worth checking out. Hope to see you down there. Have a blessed day!
Joy in Jesus!
Rev. Mike McClurg
Senior Pastor, Findlay First Church of the Nazarene