I’m so grateful for vacations—not simply because I can visit family, friends, or attend ball games and water parks. In taking time away, I am able to shake out the cobwebs of the daily routine and get down to more foundational matters. Two main thoughts came rushing to me like a cool drink of water.
- I belong to Jesus—my identity must come from His atoning work on my behalf and the behalf of the church.
- I don’t want to be merely a tactician, simply executing ministerial duties–but that my duties flow from my delight in who Jesus is and what He accomplished on my behalf.
I love listening to talks by pastors on worship, preaching, small groups, evangelism, etc. I want to think through the structures and systems of why we do things the way we do. Currently, our church is going through this process–a process that’s necessary, overwhelming, and fascinating.
But I want the ‘why’ to go deeper than simply ‘what works,’ or ‘what folks like,’ or ‘that’s what we’ve always done.’ I want to examine the motive of who I serve ultimately.
It’s not the church.
It’s not my community.
It’s not my family.
It’s not my staff.
The ‘why’ is not because of my job title or other human expectations. I move because I belong to Jesus–He rescued me. All my other relationships and duties must come from this ultimate relationship that Christ is my Lord and Savior. I belong to Him by His sovereign grace!
I’m a pastor because He called me to that office and to this church in South Denver. I belong to Jesus, and I long to be ‘pastored’ by Him as He uses me to shepherd the flock of God (1 Peter 5:1-4).
I’m a preacher, not simply to show off any particular rhetorical chops I may possess or to impress with any hermeneutical skills I may have acquired. I belong to Jesus, and I long to proclaim Him (Colossians 1:28-29).
So every sermon I preach and prepare for, every duty in which I engage, every person I talk to, every blogpost and Facebook post I use to update must come as an result of my relationship to my Rescuer.
This coming, I’m preaching on Psalm 32. Our sins are covered, our transgressions forgiven, our iniquities are no longer counted against us by the grace of our God through His Son, Jesus! Once that declaration of confession and repentance of sin takes place, Psalm 32:8-11 are powerful!
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
9 Do not be like the horse or the mule,
which have no understanding
but must be controlled by bit and bridle
or they will not come to you.
10 Many are the woes of the wicked,
but the Lord’s unfailing love
surrounds the one who trusts in him.
11 Rejoice in the Lord and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart!
My preaching ministry (“instruct … teach … counsel” in v. 8), my pastoral ministry, my family life, my conduct in the community comes from the joy and gladness we have in God declaring us forgiven and righteous (v. 11). No other transaction, no other position, no other identity matters but what our identity is is in Christ.
Dear pastor and preacher, are you a mere tactician of ministerial duties? Or do you belong to Jesus?