Have you ever met someone who seemed to have it all? I don’t mean money. But things like charisma. Charm. Winning smile. Talent. Able to hold an audience’s attention. Things like that. Intangibles. Along with those types of intangibles comes the expectation of doing something great or becoming a “go to guy.” People climb the corporate ladder with what is called a “rising star.” Singers climb the charts with “bullets” beside their name. Churches are rated as “The Top 100 Churches in America” or some other nonsense like that. Pastors are “rock stars” i.e. not that they lead a rock band, but they are the ones everyone wants to hear.
I just finished reading Vertical Church by James MacDonald this morning (Wednesday) and began reading one called The Measure of Our Success: An Impassioned Plea to Pastors by Shawn Lovejoy. Three or four pages into the first chapter entitled “What’s Wrong with Pastors?” Shawn got my attention like a freight train running through a small town at full speed. There are three separate thoughts on the same page so I want to include them all:
As ambitious self-starters, we can so easily begin to work for Jesus at the expense of working in and through Jesus. The more talented and driven we are, the easier it becomes for us to rely on our own ambition, talents, power, strength, intellect, and wisdom…I have told our church on many occasions that the greatest temptation I face is not stealing the money from the offering or having an affair; the greatest temptation I face is submitting what I do for God for what I am with God…Our greatest assets, when used outside of Christ’s lordship, become our greatest liabilities. The same talents and personalities that make us great pastors become highly destructive outside the bounds of the Spirit’s control. (p.17)
My head is still wobbly from the jabs. Please hear me out on this. What he says is true!! You know it. I know it. You know pastors who fit this. I know them. For way too long, I was one of them. Well, maybe not so much in the eyes of others, but in I was a “legend in my own eyes.” So add pride to the mix. Talk about volatile. But a
pastor any person can only last so long and can only fool people for so long before it catches up to him/her.
That’s right. What Shawn wrote may have been pointed at pastors, but every person faces the same temptation. The greatest battle we all face, not just pastors, is the battle between our flesh and spirit. Doing things in our own strength and power. Thinking charisma will carry the day so no need to study. Stuff like that. Only so long…only so long…then it catches up and the
fall crash is u-u-u-u-gly.
I would encourage you to pray for your pastor. I would also encourage you to pray for yourself lest you think you are beyond doing “your own thing.” Any thoughts?