I want to never complain again like a whinny baby about the struggles of serving as a Pastor. After what I’ve seen the last few weeks I should be slapped and have my all-mighty religious diplomas ripped to shreds. As I traveled to different countries on my sabbatical I met many wonderful people. Several of them were God-fearing and humble Pastors who serve in the most gut-wrenching and desperate places but they serve with tremendous joy and gladness. I was overwhelmed and challenged by the Pastors I met and what God said to me. It was like a kick in my spiritual pants from God’s enormous TOMS. Each Pastor I met works full-time at a job to support their families but then serves tirelessly as a Pastor - but for FREE. It’s not that they wouldn’t like to be paid but their churches can’t pay them. But, it was obvious the pay is not the reason they serve. Their motives were beautiful and pure.
These mighty warriors served in desperate areas with very little resources but were rich in gratitude and love. In the Dominican Republic my friend, Pastor Roberto, serves as a full-time public teacher and then as a Pastor in a one room concrete church building to hundreds of lovely people in poverty. He genuinely loves his people and they love him. He is happy and grateful for the work of grace God has done in his own life and desperately desires to share it with all the people in his village. Each time I visit him he asks me to teach him about serving as a Pastor but I leave each time humbled and wanting more of what he has. In Uganda, Pastor Moses, is a full-time farmer who also gratefully serves his one room church in a poverty-stricken village with thousands of people – for FREE. Oh yeah, he also oversees seventy other churches too.He has six kids of his own who share a dirt floor home with only two rooms. The entire house is smaller than my garage. My car has better accommodations than his entire family.
When I see how my brothers are serving I feel like a gnat for ever complaining. I want more of what these men have. These men were only a few of the passionate servants of Christ that I met over the last few weeks. There were many men and woman who served in desperate situations with little resources and in the face of constant discouragement. They served in various roles and in different churches but there is one thing I noticed they all had in common. They all served others out a genuine love for Jesus and the grace he has shown them. There was no ulterior motives for serving the church and growing their church. They genuinely loved people and it came from an overflowing love for Jesus.
In the U.S. we need more people who will serve others out of an overflowing love for Christ and genuine care for all people. I’m talking to myself the most. I desire it desperately. I want it to start with me. I have been given much and when much is given much is required (Matt 25:14-30). I Pastor a great church, with loving people and generous resources but I wonder how much more I can do, we could do and should do.
I don’t want to be a complainer I want to be a worshipper. I desire for my worship not to only be a few songs that give me goosebumps. I want my worship to be the laying down of my life as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1). This is how my brothers and sisters around the world worship and I want to worship like them. No big lights. No big sound. No smoke and mirrors. Just people loving Jesus, his word and each other.
God I have been given much. I want to give you back much. I’m sorry for complaining about my work, position, pay, benefits, difficult people, problems, lack of resources, struggles, work load and other issues that are truly so minuscule. Father I want to serve out of a deep love for you and for your people. Renew my passion for you. Renew my love for you and take it to a whole new level. Awaken my soul. Let the last half of my life burn twice as bright for you than the first half. Be glorified magnificently through my life. I’m yours Lord. All of me. Whatever you want from me I lay it down on your altar. I’m yours. Use me up for your glory and purpose.
Forgive me and restore me. Help me to see the church with your eyes. Give me your mind to lead wisely. Give me your heart to love your people wholeheartedly. Give me your hands to serve your people selflessly. Give me your tongue to share the gospel with boldness and clarity. Give me your strength to work tirelessly. Give me your ears to hear your Spirit and follow you. Give me your feet to go wherever you lead me. Give me your perseverance to not give up when things get hard. Give me your compassion to love people where they are. Give me your vision to see your will. Give me a willful spirit to keep going when I blow it and want to quit.
Lord I want to live fully alive and free. I want to smile and love my life no matter my situations or setting. I know that comes from deeply knowing experiencing your amazing grace. Show me the depths of your grace and let it produce a genuine love for you and for your people.
I’ve been kicked by God and it worked. I desire to be a worshipper not a complainer.