Parson to Person
is not unusual for adults to tire easily over the apparent,
bottomless, curiosity of a small child. From such questions as “Where
do the white clouds go at night,” to “How does this work,” to
endless interrogatives of “Why,” the pressing need for
information to bring order, understanding, and meaning to life itself
persists, and that is so good! It is a shame that much of that is
stiffled in mature adulthood (after all, one does not want to appear
to be ignorant). Ultimately, it is a loss that bears its own
irrevocable reward in time and eternity. Think about it!
I relate here an old story of an ambitious preacher’s nightmare. A young minister whose zeal far outstripped his wisdom came face to face with his religious motivation one fateful night. In his dream, he met and had a conversation with the Lord. He earnestly besought the Lord to make him a popular, widely accepted preacher. To his dismay, the Lord simply asked, “Why?” Somewhat befuddled, he went on to say that he wanted to be respected as a wise, holy man among his peers. Again, the Lord retorted, “Why?” The preacher quickly searched for an answer to the unexpected question. He stated that he wanted to build a large, megachurch with multiple staff, and magnificent choirs. Once more, the Lord asked “Why?” It was then that he awakened with profound thoughts to settle, all relating to the piercing question “Why.” All of God’s people, and especially ministers of the gospel would do well to identify with the ambitious preacher. Spiritual realities are often far removed from fleshly religion, no matter how noble the intent may be.
Truly, to be legitimately added to the church of the Lord Jesus, in covenant relationship with Him is a deep, personal, spiritual state to be nourished through the sustainment and constraints of the Word. Failure in this discipleship will find one sinking into the perpetual status quo of spiritual infancy in which the flesh delights in the external talking points of religion, as Paul told Timothy. “having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.” On the other hand, realizing He must increase, but I must decrease subjugates any religious pomp of man to the well grounded status of belonging to Him. It is He who gives the increase, and except He build the house, labor is in vain, and the degree of glory one might receive from the plaudits of men is the degree of robbery perpetrated upon His work. I do not reference or laud spiritual lethargy, but commitment without reservation to the King of glory. Jesus underscored this principle in His kingdom parables, saying: “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” Luke 17:10