- Psalm 119:136 (NKJV) Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law.
It was a joy to see many of you at this past Tuesday’s Oasis pastor’s conference. I congratulate and thank Pastor Chris Sustar, his great team, and the wonderful congregation at High Praises for a job well done.
It did not surprise me that many of you would be there—I have witnessed your thirst for personal growth and improvement for many years now. One of the joys of my life and ministry is to see how the members of our mentoring group have come into their own. Many of our leading pastors today are faithful members and contributors of our group and I am excited to see a great group of future leaders rising up in our group.
There is no doubt about it: A commitment to personal and professional growth is absolutely essential if a preacher or teacher wants to have productive and beneficial life and ministry.
However, having said that let me remind you of one vital priority: You are called to preach and teach the word of God. Nothing or no one must be allowed to take you away from that commission—not leading, administrating, counseling, visiting, seeking to grow your church, reading, writing, or any of the countless other—good things—that you can do.
John Maxwell is famous for the saying, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” I agree with that…to a point. However, if I may be so bold to contradict Maxwell: For the God-called preacher and teacher, everything rises and falls on being faithful to preach and teach the word of God.
Some of you will remember Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan’s attempt to play major league baseball. Because of his name and natural ability as an athlete (and because of his ability to sell tickets), he actually played in the major leagues a little but with little success. God had “wired” him to play basketball—that was where Jordan belonged and that was where he made and left his mark.
In the same way, you can be a world-class leader and administrator; you can pastor a dynamic and growing church; you can serve on boards, committees and be a “voice” in your denomination. Red alert! There have always been world-class leaders, administrators, pastors , and denominational leaders (Praise God for this). Yet you’d be hard-pressed to name a dozen of them that were household names 100 years ago. In other words, don’t allow these lesser things to pull you away for the main thing God has called you to do.
At the end of the day, when you stand before the One who called you to faithfully preach and teach his word, what is going to matter more than all the other “successes” and achievements is being able to say, “I have been faithful to the heavenly calling” (Hebrews 3:1-2) placed upon my life to declare and proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ—in season and out of season—to the very end.
Today’s verse (see above) really gripped and convicted my heart today. I haven’t reached the point that “Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law (Word). Could it be that I’ve allowed good but lesser things to distract me from the heavenly calling upon my life? What about you?
My dear brothers and sisters: (please take the time to read this) I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-6)
God be with you as you make your final preparations for tomorrow. I pray that He will lead you and guide you as your handle the Holy Scriptures and that tomorrow you will sense one more time that heavenly anointing that only a God-called preacher and teacher can know and count on so desperately. There’s nothing like—don’t allow lesser things to rob you of the great privilege of being a preacher and teacher of Word of God.
“The ultimate goal of spiritual leadership is not to achieve numerical results alone, or to do things with perfection, or even to grow for the sake of growth. It is to take their people from where they are to where God wants them to be.” _Henry & Richard Blackaby, Spiritual Leadership, p. 127