Thursday, June 9, 2016

Convenience or Conviction

In last week’s postI talked about my need for restoration. Like many who may read this, my schedule is busy. Thankfully, in the next two weeks, I will have two items off my plate. I have enjoyed both, but having some extra time is important right now, especially with another round of online instruction forthcoming. I also have a writing project which is nearly finished, but then must prepare for a children’s camp, and then training pastors and telling Bible stories for an upcoming mission trip. All the while, my primary responsibility is to pastor. I share this simply to say that like most of you, I am busy, and while I would trade none of these tasks, I wonder how many are good, yet are keeping me from doing the great. My desire is to follow Jesus, and Jesus was one who did the great.

Of course Jesus was great. But a part of His greatness is that He did great. I am not great, and that won’t change even if I do great, but should I not do greater things. In fact, William Carey once said that we should “expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.” What am I attempting that is great?

The main reason I recently changed the focus of this blog is to share my thoughts on the past week’s message. A slightly modified version of my sermon is now posted on the church’s blog (, with this blog providing more of a chance to reflect a bit (on the message or otherwise). One thing that hit me from this past week, is how often I wait to do certain tasks. This is a fine line, but I am not talking about procrastination here. I am talking about meeting a need. Jesus was always ready and yet the demands on His time and life were greater than anything I can imagine. Yet, I look at my color-coded calendar and try to move A, so I can accommodate B, without affecting C. And in that light, I taught this last week on Jesus healing a man with a withered hand in the synagogue – on the Sabbath! See Mark 3.1-6.

After five confrontations with various leaders from Mark 2.1 through Mark 3.6, two groups began to plot to kill Jesus. Why? Not because Jesus healed a man, but because of when He did it. He didn’t wait until it fit everyone’s schedule. He didn’t wait until the lawmakers said it was ok. He did it on the Sabbath, when it was considered illegal, instead of waiting just a short time when it would have been alright. The Bible doesn’t say exactly what time of day it was, but Jesus wasn’t worried about the position of the sun in the sky, He had a point to make, and a man to help.

This thought has weighed heavily on me this week. Again, I have been asked to participate in a lot of good things lately – developing Bible studies, writing Bible articles, teaching Bible stories, teach seminary classes, etc. Frankly, I love to study the Bible, but to teach it, or other content, well takes time. Unfortunately, these tasks have kept me from leading our church where I believe God wants us to go. These tasks have prevented us from implementing the Ministry Action Plan (MAP) Team that
was developed earlier this year. I have been waiting for a better time – for me, and for others. It has been easier to wait, not just from a scheduling perspective personally, but from knowing that pushing through some barriers will take time and persistence as well.

On that Sabbath Day, some 2000 years ago, Jesus didn’t wait a few hours until it was convenient and the pressure would be removed. No, He did what needed to be done to help show that He, indeed, was Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2.28). I am not lord of anything, but if I am to follow my Lord in making a difference, and partner with Him in building His church, then my schedule must better reflect His. It must be more about conviction that convenience. I must make time to realize opportunities. I must make time to lead. But most importantly, I must make time for Him not only to restore me, but also to lead and mold me according to His image and plans, not mine. Only then, can I truly lead others to fulfill their calling as well.

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