And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:31-32 (NASB)
I have heard this verse many times. I have quoted this verse many times. However, I really don't apply this verse to my life/ministry that much. I know that I should spend way more time helping the broken and the lost understand the need to give up their way of living and trust in God than I should answering questions for those who already have it figured out, but it is so hard to actually do this.
Here are a few ways that I am struggling with applying this to my life.
1. Time spent with people. I envision that my time spent with people should go in this order: A. Time spent with Family B. Time spent with key leaders that I am developing C. Time spent with those without Christ D. Time spent with mentors E. Time spent with Christians who are wishy-washy F. Spent with "Christians" with no real desire to change. This is unfortunately not how my time with people looks. I have finally got A down. I am working on B, but honestly a lot of that time is very wasteful. E is actually my C. D is my D. F is my E. And C is my F. I am making some intentional choices to change this immediately.
2. My thought life. I spend way more time thinking about the comments and how to gain the approval of Christians than I do those with out Christ. If you observed my actions, you might not think it was that bad. But, if you were in my head.... you would see that I majorly struggle in this area. Who cares about the woman who questions everything I say? She doesn't live out what she says she believes at all. Who cares about the lady in our church that won't stop complaining about our music? There are churches with different (maybe better) music in our small town, join one of them. Why do I listen to the same person complain about their finances and their marriage over and over when they refuse to do what God says. Why do I feel obligated to try and get in touch with someone who clearly stopped coming our church because it didn't meet all of their needs at the moment, let them roll on. I am going to start spending my thought life on how I can be more like Christ, on how I can take the message of hope to the hopeless, on how I can create and lead opportunities to see people become hungrier for the Word and more passionate about doing what it says than ever before.
3. Goals. If you asked any church planter (and most pastors) what the goal of their ministry is, it would ultimately be to see more people to come to know Christ and to see people doing what God has called them to do. BUT WHY? Why do I desire to reach my goals in life? Is it because God desires them or is it because I will receive recognition from others. Based upon my interactions with most church leaders, I would guess that the majority of us are more motivated to do good things that will be recognized by men than to do Godly things that are recognized by Him. This is why you see scores of people getting saved with no real transformation taken place. Maybe they were sincere and maybe they weren't, but I will get recognized either way. I spend most of my time thinking about what will make me look successful to the men and women of my church, in other churches in our community, and in church world that I often lose sight of success in God's eyes. I lose sight of the main purpose of Jesus: TO SEE SINNERS COME TO REPENTANCE. Not de-churched becoming churched in a different style, not sinners say ing they "accept jesus", BUT LIVES TRANSFORMED BY GOD. Church leaders do everything they can to rationalize this and say that God is calling them to be _____. BS, God is calling you to be obedient to the Great Commission. Leave the rest up to him. This will always be a struggle, but my desire is to be motivated to be a good and faithful servant and not a _______ pastor that is recognized by other churches and so forth.
I really do have a long way to go here. But, I believe that if I stay humble and keep listening to and following God, He will use me to see some incredible things happen in the way of transformed lives and I don't care if anyone in church world notices it or not.