A good reality-check question to ask yourself regularly is: “To whom am I accountable?”
Let me illustrate…
This past weekend Sonja and I ministered at the Prairie Bible Church of God. Never heard of it? No surprise there. You have to go to “Nowhere” and then drive another ten miles to get there. It is between Union Center and Enning, SD and, true to its name, it sits out on the South Dakota prairie giving witness to the love of God and the faithfulness of his people.
To Sonja and me, this is one of our most beloved congregation in the region we serve. I suppose it is partly because we’ve helped them through a pastoral transition and thus have been there several time. But I think it is mostly because they are so loving and caring towards us. Often when the “Bishop/Overseer” shows up people can be guarded and even a little cynical. Some do not even know who or what a Bishop or Overseer is. I understand. Some of the guardedness is probably justified.
But at Prairie Bible—things are different. To them it is an honor to have their Overseer show up. They met us at the door with smiles on their faces and updates from their lives. The worship is simple and spiritual—no airs and pretense. And then after church they always insist on having a potluck meal with us in the fellowship hall. It’s like going home.
I think of one elderly gentleman named Ron who is a long-time member at Prairie Bible. Every time I visit, he recounts other visits from Overseers over the years. He recounts how he used to drive 6-8 hours to be a part of the annual Regional Campmeeting celebration. He remembers many of the great preachers who spoke in those meetings. He’s a rancher and has faithfully paid his tithes to the Church of God for many years, supported his church, loved his pastor, and provided “salt” and “light” to the people of that little community.
I am accountable to him and the other precious people of that prairie church.
Every dollar I spend, every decision I make, and every project or event I initiate must be done with Prairie Bible Church of God in mind. I am accountable to them. We are family, comrades, fellow-travelers, and I do not have the luxury of making decisions without considering them.
My life is full of people like that.
Just before leaving last week to head out for Rapid City to conduct a Minister’s Conference I received a card with 100.00 to help me with my budget. It came from a precious couple of very modest means. The wife works at Walmart and the husband is disabled and yet they regularly make investments in my life and ministry. Every time I receive a card from them I am reminded of David when his warriors brought water back from his home town well. It is humbling and it is a reminder that I am accountable to that precious couple.
Your life is full of people like that too.
The moment you and I forget that, we start down a path of arrogance and selfishness, and that path always ends in tragedy.
The ONE THING for today: Regularly ask yourself, “To whom am I accountable?” It will keep you humble, focused, and headed in the right direction. And also remind you that you are not alone.