Hey, Calvary Fremont –
My Spidey-senses were tingling. I braced myself. I could feel it coming. But it never came. Whew! Praise the Lord!
They were in my office telling me that when they attended such-and-such a church, they were excited and motivated to serve the Lord. But ever since they moved into the Bay Area and began to attend the church I pastor, it’s been hard for them to get motivated. “Uh-oh,” I thought, “Here it comes.” But it never came. They said that this is the church where God wants them to be, and it was time to jump in and get involved and serve. Hallelujah! My Spidey-senses untingled.
I was anticipating the subtle insinuation that if I were a better teacher, a more inspirational preacher, a charismatic leader, if this church was more like that other church, then they would be more excited and motivated. (And yes, I’ve heard these criticisms before.) But had the conversation gone in that direction, I was prepared for it. My response would have gone something like this:
“Your criticism of my preaching says a lot more about your maturity level than it says about my preaching ability. By your own admission, you know that you should be serving the Lord; you know you should jump in and get involved. But you won’t do God’s will unless someone motivates you to do God’s will. That’s a classic symptom of immaturity. Spiritual maturity doesn’t care about the skill and passion and effectiveness of the preaching – spiritual maturity delights to know God and serve God regardless of external circumstances. Do you really think that God is going to fault me for your disobedience? Now, I may not be an inspirational preacher – and I may need to work on that. But my preaching deficiency is no excuse for you to not serve God.”
Follower of Jesus – if you won’t serve Jesus unless someone other than the Holy Spirit motivates you, applauds you, recognizes you, my prayer for you is that you find your way out of the swamp of spiritual immaturity.
Pastor – I’m sure you’ve experienced something like this during your ministry. You may very well need to improve your preaching. I’m 70 years old and I strive to improve my preaching. (And no, I’m not over the hill. To be honest, I feel like I’m on top of the mountain!) Please allow me to relieve you of feeling condemned when the spiritually immature blame you for their mediocrity. It says so much more about them than it does about you.
I may be a poor preacher, but Jesus is a rich Savior. I may be an inadequate motivator, but Jesus is the best One of us all. Jesus is the best Speaker, Teacher, Preacher, Motivator. Follow Jesus.
Be blessed and stay healthy and follow Jesus – Pastor Tim