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Friday, September 10, 2010

What Does God Really Require?

Many preachers can out-preach me with one tongue tied behind their backs! 

They can mesmerize crowds with sighs, bring people to their feet by the cadence of their voices and produce hundreds of “decisions” with simple invitations. In most cases, they show no signs of fasting, deep spiritual struggles or extended times in prayer. They ride in expensive cars, live in luxurious houses and dress in opulence. Am I doing something wrong?
I wish I didn’t envy these preachers at times. I would like to have the security that their wealth seems to provide them. They don’t visit hospitals and nursing homes. They don’t do funeral services. They are not called on to counsel people to remain married. They are not criticized for forgetting a name. They lead their organization of paid people. They  ask for funds from their followers without having to do anything other than preach. 
People seem to love these preachers. They buy their books and dvds. They drive hundreds of miles to hear them speak. They pay admissions and stand outside arenas for hours so they can get good seats. Those who come to hear them, do not covet the back rows. They push ahead to sit up front. They bring their cameras, hoping for a chance to get a good shot of their hero. They laugh at all their heroes’ jokes and never fall asleep as they preach.
Do I lack the charisma these preachers have? Of course. Do I lack their ability to tell stories or create elaborate illustrations. Assuredly. Will I ever be able to produce the results these preachers have? No.
Fortunately, my job is not about big crowds who are raptured at my every word. It is not about producing mammoth numbers of people who have made decisions. It is not learning to preach so that no one falls asleep. My job doesn’t  entail criticizing these famous preachers (though I may be called to point out their heresies).
My job is simply to do what is right, love with a kindness that appears supernatural and walk closely and humbly with my God. Sure, I would like other things but this is what I am called to do.
In fact, it is what we are all called to do.
Do you find yourself looking at those around you who seem to be more successful but less spiritual than you are? Do you wonder why they seem to do so well while you are left behind? Well, maybe you’re not as behind as you think. Maybe you are using the evaluation methods of this world. You may be exactly where you should be in the eyes of God. 
Is this hard to accept? Yes, and it will continue to be so as long as you keep looking at others to measure your success.
Micah 6:8 (ESV)
He has told you O man what is good,
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

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