My retreat week was amazing. God came through just as he always does, the key this week was that I was actually still enough to hear him.
It was like God was beating on a bass drum on my retreat. He spoke similar messages through his Word and several authors that I read during my time.
God spoke clearly to me – “You’re not that big of a deal. I, however, AM.”
He spoke that message through Brennan Manning…
“He was not poor that we might be rich. He was not mocked so that we might be honored. He was not laugh at so that we would be lauded.”
– The Furious Longing For God
He spoke it again through Henri Nouwen, in a little book I have read now three times and still keep getting profound nuggets of truth from…
“Jesus’ first temptation was to be relevant.” – In the Name of Jesus
Nouwen is not talking about “connecting to your audience” or making sure your message is relevant to the audience. He is talking about personal relevance. So many leaders, including me, struggle with “finding their voice,” the place where they get their five minutes of fame. Being asked to speak on a subject at another church. Being recognized by a group of people for your contributions to a subject or area of expertise. Or getting that email that a “ministry celebrity” is now following you on Twitter. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know very many of these ministry folks. I assume (maybe that will get me into trouble) that they all have their hearts right and God is using that in awesome ways to impact all of our ministries. What I do know is this…I know I am not the only one who struggles with wanting to find my way into that group – wanting to be recognized.
If that wasn’t enough, Nouwen threw me a right cross to the throat with…
“The question is not: How many people take me seriously? How much are you going to accomplish? Can you show some results? But: Are you in love with Jesus?”
That’s the question I struggled with this past week. Not struggled with how to answer it, but struggled with exactly how deep in love I am with Christ.
What about you? Pastors…Ministry Staff…volunteer leaders…Are you burdened by results driven ministry or are hanging out in an intimate relationship with Christ that brings with it immense freedom?