My Biggest Temptation…Each and Every Day…

“Let us leave a little room for reflection in our lives, room too for silence…Let us hear the Word of God in stillness and perhaps we will then come to understand it” – St. Augustine

Want to know what my biggest temptation is as a pastor? Want to know the one thing that I’m tempted to do everyday that would be the downfall of my ministry?

No it’s not something sensational. No it’s not something full of mystery and intrigue. It’s something everyday and ordinary.

My biggest temptation is to go to the office…and get to work.

Yep that’s my biggest temptation. My biggest temptation is to actually skip meeting with God, and get busy doing work for God. My temptation is to skip reading his Word, spending time praying, and get a lot of stuff done for God. Do you sense the irony and the problem with that?

The biggest factor in my relationship growing with God is spending time with him and reflecting on his Word. The problem is that seems so…inefficient. The problem is that it doesn’t seem to accomplish a lot, or change the number of things on my to-do list.

But that’s the temptation isn’t it? To see time spent with God as optional, as inefficient, as unnecessary, as not actually accomplishing things. But the type of change that happens through daily spending time with him isn’t instant. It’s long-term, it’s legacy building, it’s mentoring of the deepest sense. And it matters more than anything else. Nothing impacts your walk with God as much as spending time with God.

So now when I’m tempted to run and do ministry for God, I try to remember I’m really meant to do it with him. I try to remember that when I choose to stop doing things and be with Him.  It’s giving him space to do something in me and through me. I try to remember that time spent with God is the best way to spend my time.

So while I still get tempted to get to work…I’ve learned through enough failures that the work can wait. What can’t wait is the need for me to grow with God.

So today if you get tempted like I do, why not carve out some time, read a passage, reflect, pray, and pause. Take up the challenge and see if your day doesn’t go better by involving God in it…

Learning to Care for Each Other

Last Sunday was a worthwhile, but also a heavy Sunday. In our church family there is a family going through some real health challenges. But what struck me on Sunday wasn’t the challenges, but the connections. I saw people hug them, pray with them, share tears, and share hope with them. This is what church is to be – a body that cares for one another.

Surprisingly enough that was the focus of  Sunday’s service. That while the church is sent out; it is sent out together as a community of love. If we can’t learn to love each other within the church, we won’t be able to practically show love to those outside the church. So what I saw on Sunday was people practicing love. That was beautiful, even in the midst of difficulty.

Someone shared with me afterwards that what made them choose to part of this family at Plattsville was how people were honest, real, and cared for one another. What they might not have  known is they were actually quoting Jesus. Jesus says that the way we love each other will prove to the world that we follow Jesus (John 13:35).

So today and this week – make a practice – of practicing love. Put love into action and show it. Because love is meant to be shown. Here are a few practical ways from Scripture:

  • “Stop passing judgment on one another.” (Romans 14:13)
    • Who do you need to stop judging?
  • “Carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2)
    • Who has a burden that you can help carry? What can you practically do?
  • “Forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.” (Colossians 3:13)
    • Who do you need to forgive today?
  • “Encourage one another daily” (Hebrews 3:13)
    • Who can you encourage today? What can you say to them to build them up?
  • “Accept one another just as Christ accepted you” (Romans 15:7)
    • Who should you accept today?

Which ones are easiest for you to practice? Which ones are hardest? Which one resonates most with you today? Which one can you put into practice today?

Because as you put it into practice you might be not only helping someone, but proving God’s love for them…