Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Devotions: Great Expectations - Luke 9:46

Luke 9:46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest.

Pastors are funny people. Whenever they get together, they tend to be a little territorial, so that when a colleague asks - “How is the church doing?”  - the answer is normally given in numbers attending worship, expanding the worship building, and church finances. I guess that a better question to ask would be: “What is your church doing?” To answer that question, numbers and stats are not the key element – it would have to be answered in terms of ministries and missions, programs and events.

Also, in times of economic difficulty pastors, including me, are quick to blame outside influences for their inside troubles. Conservatives blame the progressives for diminishing membership numbers; progressives blame conservatives for ineffective community participation. Differences occur and arguments take place. Whatever the issue, it usually has its roots in one side wanting to be more dominant, powerful, and relevant than the other. It’s really just the same argument that the disciples had walking behind Jesus: who or what is the greatest.

Psalm 48 v 1 reminds us that “Great is the Lord and He is greatly to be praised.” Ministry and mission, church and service are not about how great we are or about the success of our accomplishments. Christ’s greatness is what we are meant to proclaim, whether by preachers in the pulpit or through members doing mission in the community. Our differences are just varieties of the same ministry, given to us by the same Savior, and expected of us by the same Lord.

 It’s not about us; it’s all about Jesus.

Question for personal reflection

What does my church do for Christ in my community?

Prayer:            Lord Jesus, You are meant to be at the center of everything we do at, for, and by the church. Our deeds are supposed to glorify You. Our tasks are meant to honor You. Help us to displace our egos and replace them with You. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to pastor@erinpresbyterian.org.

Today’s image is one of John’s Easter drawings called “Redeemer Rabbi.” If you would like to view a larger version of the drawing, please click on the following link: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5262/5813805303_784c8ccd1d_b.jpg

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