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Joe McKeever Christian Blog and Commentary

Joe McKeever

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Joe McKeever says he has written dozens of books, but has published none. That refers to the 1,000+ articles on various subjects (prayer, leadership, church, pastors) that can be found on his website -- joemckeever.com -- and which are reprinted by online publications everywhere. His articles appear in a number of textbooks and other collections. Retired from "official" ministry since the summer of 2009, Joe stays busy drawing a daily cartoon for Baptist Press (www.bpnews.net), as an adjunct professor at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, writing for Baptist MenOnline for the North American Mission Board, and preaching/drawing/etc for conventions and churches across America. Over a 42 year period, McKeever pastored 6 churches (the last three were the First Baptist Churches of Columbus, MS; Charlotte, NC; and Kenner, LA). Followed by 5 years as Director of Missions for the 135 SBC churches of metro New Orleans, during which hurricane katrina devastated the city and destroyed many churches. Joe is married to Margaret, the father of three adults, and the proud grandfather of eight terrific young people. He holds degrees from Birmingham-Southern College (History, 1962), and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Masters in Church History, 1967, and Doctorate of Ministry in Evangelism, 1973). Joe's father was a coal miner who married a farmer's daughter. Carl and Lois McKeever, both of whom lived past 95 years of age, produced 6 children, with Joe and Ronnie being ministers. Joe grew up near Nauvoo, Alabama, and attended high school at Double Springs. Joe's life verse is Job 4:4, "Your words have stood men on their feet."

What qualifies me to write this piece, if anything, is that I am a pastor who has been married most of my life. My wife Margaret and I did this entire ministry thing together, having married the same year I started pastoring, and that was 52 years back. Every church I served as pastor, she was there and deeply involved. She has heard more of my sermons than anyone else, and knows me in ways I do not know myself. Therefore, her assessment of me is probably more dead-on than anyone else’s, including my own.

And that’s what frightens me.

They asked Dwight L. Moody if a certain man were a Christian. “I don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t talked to his wife.”

If anyone knows, she does.

(Note: I write–as is obvious–from the standpoint of the pastor being a man. There are godly and faithful women leading churches across the world, and we thank God for them. I have no experience with their situation or knowledge on how their ministries are different from mine. It would be presumptuous for me to pontificate on what they need.)

The pastor’s wife can hurt or help him “better” than anyone else.

When two people go into a “hug,” they drop their guards and become vulnerable. Some individuals we meet in life refuse to allow themselves to love and be love, lest they be hurt by the one they were trusting. Most of us decide that’s too big a price to pay, that we are willing to run the risk in order to receive love and express our affection.

When a pastor and his wife divorce, the departing spouse can wound him for life.* If the split is her doing, the rejection can be devastating. No words cut as deeply, find his soft spots, and leave him gasping for air the way hers do. While that is true of any divorce situation, it has special significance for one called by God into the ministry. After all, this man is doing the strangest work on the planet: He is representing the great invisible God with the message of Jesus Christ to a people who do not always appreciate either the God or the messenger. And now, the departing spouse has just about made it impossible.

(*I’m not naive. I know that sometimes the husband is the one betraying his wife, and that divorce can be a mutual decision and have a thousand causes. However, I have observed in far too many cases wives divorcing their preacher-husbands because “I do not want to live that life,” “I did not sign on for life in a glass-bowl,” and “He was not a preacher when we married and I am not cut out for this.”)

The spouse who stays with the preacher through thick and thin, believing in him all the way, loving and praying for him, is a jewel in the Heavenly Father’s crown. And, truth be known, she’s rare as one too, I expect.

My wife was attending one of these women’s ministry events our denomination puts on from time to time. A number of pastors’ wives sat on a panel, discussing the preacher, his fragile self-esteem, and how the wife keeps him tethered to reality. One said, “I tell him, ‘You may be Doctor So-and-So up there in that pulpit on Sunday. But remember, I saw you two hours earlier in your boxer shorts.’” Everyone laughed, but not everyone appreciated what that woman did.

I’d give a dime to know what her husband thought. (Turn the tables and ask how she would have felt had he announced to the world that he had seen her this morning in her undies.)

The pastor’s self-esteem is something like loose cargo on board a storm-tossed ship. It careens from side to side, sometimes high and sometimes low, always threatening to do damage. Unless someone helps him bolt it to reality, that unstable ego is going to get him in trouble.

That’s what a faithful wife can do: help him fasten down his self-esteem.

The pastor does not need his ego inflated.

Some women read these magazine articles saying men are vain creatures, that they need constant assuring that they are wonderful and sexy and attractive. The woman who lures a straying husband away from his faithful wife, those articles say, made him feel important, listened to his fears, and bragged on his accomplishments.

A wife will read that and come away disgusted that men are so self-centered, so needy, and so weak. And, if she takes that as gospel, her way of helping her preacher-hubby will consist of telling him how wonderful he is, inflating his fragile ego, puffing him up. All the while, she’s feeling guilty for lying to him and ashamed for not being able to speak the truth.

That is not what he needs.

He’s not stupid.

He knows he’s no more wonderful than anyone else. He is not on an ego-trip for Jesus. He does not need a constant reassurance that “You’re the best preacher,” “You’re great,” and “You’re the best looking minister in the denomination.”

Any wife who does that and any preacher who feeds on it has more problems than we can address here.

What a pastor needs is encouragement.

Pure and simple. He needs someone who knows him well and loves him still to assure him that what he is doing is the most important work in the world, that God is using his sermons and pastoral care in ways that honor Christ and will eventually bless the recipients, and that he is serving well.

The pastoral ministry–that is, a man called of God to shepherd His flock made up of every kind of collection of “sheep”–can be a sinkhole for a pastor’s self-esteem. Most congregations have people who see their calling as cutting the preacher down to size, reminding him of his human frailties, and finding the flaws in his sermons and the omissions in his pastoring.

The pastor takes this as a given. He does his work, takes his lumps, goes home to his family, sleeps off the aches of yesterday, and rises to face a new day and try this all again. He keeps reminding himself that “the mercies of the Lord are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23) and that he can “do all things through Christ” (Philippians 4:13).

But it’s hard. Anyone who says it isn’t either hasn’t been in the work very long or isn’t paying attention.

The pastor needs his wife to pray for him. She knows better than anyone the pressures he faces. Her prayers may be the most valuable ones ever raised for him.

The pastor needs to know his wife is on his team. He’s not real sure about certain deacons, and some old curmudgeon told him yesterday that he is a failure, but there is one person he can always count on. His wife believes in him.

The pastor needs his wife to listen with discernment when he is asking for input, and to give her thoughts freely and confidently.

In the same way, the pastor needs his wife to know when to be quiet and keep her opinion to herself. It’s not an easy assignment, believe me.

He needs the occasional reminder from her that she is proud to be married to a man doing the most important work on the planet, spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Honestly, I can understand a woman saying, “This is more than I can do. I’m not cut out for this.” Her life is as difficult as his, and in some ways, more.

Pray for the pastor’s wife.

Pray for your pastor.

When you get to Heaven–make a note of this and hold me accountable, please–you will find out how the Father treasures every time you lift these two people of His to Him in prayer.

One final word: Please do not approach the pastor or his wife to ask something like, “Tell me what pressures you are facing so I can pray more intelligently.” This is private information which they will not be able to share with you. Please take it by faith and pray with the assurance that the Father knows their needs and will apply the blessing of your prayer wherever it’s needed most. Thank you.

"You have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife" (II Samuel 12:10).
 
A minister falls into adultery and it becomes public knowledge. This becomes a sad, sad day for everyone who knows him.
 
(And yes, I am aware it takes two people to commit this sin.  However, this blog is directed toward pastors and other church leaders, so the minister is the focus of our comments here.)
 
“I think we all should consider this a wakeup call,” said a colleague of a friend who had fallen into sin and lost his ministry.  The other ministers nodded in agreement.
 
It can happen to any of us. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
 
Will anyone tell you “otherwise”? Oh yes.  He is called by various names such as Satan, the devil, Lucifer, that old serpent, and the slanderer.  Remember, friend–he’s not called the “accuser of the brethren” for nothing (Revelation 12:10).
 
Jesus called him a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).
 
“Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (I Corinthians 10:12). Beware of feeling this sin or any other sin could not happen to you, friend.
 
“If Thou O Lord should mark iniquities, who would stand?” (Psalm 130:3). You know that you are just as bad a sinner as the adulterer, don’t you?  If you do not, if you believe that your sins are of a nicer variety and deserve less severe treatment from God, you have more problems than we can deal with here.
 
If anyone should be above the law and able to come and go sexually as he pleases, it ought to be the king, right?
 
One king of Israel seems to have bought into that myth.
 
When King David sinned with Bathsheba, and then committed manslaughter to get her righteous husband out of the way, he was in major trouble with God.  Second Samuel chapter 12 tells the story.
 
David received many surprises when God called him to account for his behavior.  He was surprised to learn that…
 
–God took his sin personally. “You have despised me,” the Lord said (II Samuel 12:10).  Later David prayed, “Against Thee and Thee only is my sin” (Psalm 51:4). We can beg to differ with that–and we do–but to the one struggling under that great load of guilt over his wrongdoing, it felt that way. In the same way, the Apostle Paul called himself “the chief of sinners” (I Timothy 1:15). Was he the worst? Not even close. But he felt that he was, and that’s the correct way to assess one’s own guilt before God.
 
--God took his sin as a rejection of His Word. “Why have you despised the word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight?” (II Samuel 12:9)
 
–The enemy took his sin gleefully. “By this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (II Samuel 12:14).  We can hear the enemies cackling, “Oooh, he was so righteous! But look what he’s doing.  He’s worse than us!”
 
–The sin David committed injured him permanently. “Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house….” (II Samuel 12:10).
 
–While David thought his misdeeds were done in private, God meted out the punishment publicly. “Indeed you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, and under the sun” (II Samuel 12:12).
 
We keep getting surprised by our sin. We are surprised that we get by with it as long as we do, surprised when we get caught, surprised that people were as hurt as they were, and surprised that God took our sin as a personal insult.  We are surprised that the price we pay for our sin is not the slight thing we had envisioned for spiritual misdemeanors but massive and far-reaching, as though God considers our transgressions as felonies deserving the harshest treatment.
 
When a minister of the Gospel commits adultery, he does the most stupid thing of his life.  No bad thing he ever does will have as far-reaching consequences as this.  He will live with the effects of this foolishness the rest of his earthly days.
 
Everything about it is sad.
 
There must be a hundred bad things that happen when a minister falls into sexual sin. God alone knows what they are. But my observation is that when a minister falls and his act becomes public knowledge, these ten things happen:
 
1) HIs ministry is gone. Until he has undergone a period of counseling with his wife and receives the endorsement of friends with influence, his influence will be slim to none.
 
2) His humiliation is severe. The shame is a heavy burden to bear.
 
3) Those who believed in him and supported him feel betrayed. He could have told them from the first how mortal he is and how prone to temptation he is–like the rest of us–but still, they have been hurt. We can hear them saying, “We thought he was above that.”  No amount of explanation can salve the pain.
 
4) People whom he was trying to reach for Christ now have a convenient excuse to fall away. "I thought he was so Christlike,” they will say, as they lay aside the Bible and no longer consider coming to Christ. Whether they actually did think that or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that the devil has taken the weapon he’s just been handed by a foolish servant of the Lord and is now battering the church with it.
 
5) His family is wounded, perhaps irreparably. Counseling can help and must be done.  The family can be restored, and in many cases will be “stronger in the broken places,” as the saying goes. But such seems to be rare, sad to say.
 
6) Atheists and others hostile to the Christian faith have a field day. Like the Philistines with David, these people delight in pointing out the hypocrisies of God’s preachers, particularly those who have been outspoken against sexual sin.
 
7) His future ministry–once it's re-established–is more limited. We are not saying God is through with him, only that how the Lord chooses to use Him will probably be different from the original plan and in a lesser way. However–and we emphasize this–God is sovereign and can do whatever He pleases (Psalm 115:3). If God chooses to reach the entire world through this one, He has the right.
 
But generally speaking, the future ministry of a “fallen and then restored” disciple is a miniature version of what it couuld have been.
 
8) Other ministers are tainted by being in the same profession as he. The next time some pollster asks people to name the profession they trust most, they will remember this and drop all ministers lower down their list.
 
9) The pastor's victim has been wounded and her family has paid a price. Whether they know it or not. Compounding that tragedy, in many cases some will accuse her of being the aggressor.  No good comes from any of this.
 
10) The guilt from this will hound him the rest of his life. When he's 60 years old and the sin lies in the distant past, he will be saying, "Lord, I am so sorry. Please forgive me." The Lord, of course, forgave that the first time he repented and asked. This sin was nailed to Jesus’ cross. God’s forgiveness is so total He says He actually forgets our sin (Hebrews 10:17). But the memory of his deeds and the sorrow for the pain he has caused will never leave.
 
There is however, a little good news. At least two good things can come from this tragic situation…
 
1) The pastor is going to find out who his friends are. This is of course the worst of all possible ways to find that out, but you do learn it.
 
2) The church is going to find out what it really believes. And so, incidentally, is the minister who has fallenEvery church talks a good game of grace. But only when one near and dear to the members falls into gross sin and rebellion does this  test reveal whether they believe in showing mercy and love to sinners. As with "finding out who his friends are," this is the most brutal of all ways to make this discovery.
 
Pray for your ministers. Oh, one more thing: If your minister takes extraordinary steps to guard himself from temptation, do not take it personally.
 
A woman wrote recently saying that after her second counseling visit with her pastor, he informed her that he would like his wife to sit in on future sessions. She was offended. She said, "Why doesn’t he trust me?" She indicated she will probably not go back.
 
It would have been simple for me to have told her, "It's himself he's not trusting." But that would not necessarily be true. He is simply being wise. This is for the protection of everyone. I suggested to the woman that she give it a try, to return to the pastor for at least two more visits, and see how it goes. She can always stop the sessions and find another counselor. But I would not be surprised if she finds herself connecting with the pastor's wife, and forming a friendship with the blessings of Heaven.
 
Pray for our pastors. And support them whenever they take steps to protect their relationships, their ministries, the people around them, their families, and the name of Jesus.
All right. It’s time for the game. Everyone ready?
 
Here’s how it works.
 
Add up all the letters in your name.  My name, Joe McKeever, has 11.  Joe is 3 letters, McKeever has 8.  Now, find a scripture somewhere in the Bible that is chapter 11, verses 3 through 8, and see if and how it fits your life. If you find a good one, that’s your passage.
 
See what we did? The total number of letters is for the chapter, and the numbers in your names separately determine the verses. So, I’m 11:3-8.  The question is, “What book?”
 
We find a lot of “chapters 11:3-8″ in the Bible. Genesis has one, Exodus does, Leviticus, Numbers, etc. etc.
 
Since I made up the rules, I get to select the passage that best suits me. (smiley-face goes here) Hebrews 11:3-8, for instance, is all about faith. And since I like to think of myself as a faith person, that’s my scripture passage.
 
That’s how the game works.
 
The details and rules of the game are still being worked out. Lol.
 
A friend of mine has 7 letters in his first name and 10 in the last, for a total of 17. This morning, in the pre-dawn hours when I should have been sleeping, it occurred to me that Luke 17:7-10 is one of the great passages regarding servanthood in Scripture and that I should mention this to him. He might feel it’s just right for his situation.
 
What if each of us did this, took the total number of letters in our name and that was our chapter, then the number of letters in our first name was the beginning verse and the number in the last name the concluding verse.  Ronald Reagan, for instance, would be 12:6 in some book of the Bible (since both his first name and last name are made up of 6 letters).
 
An exercise in foolishness?
 
I think so.
 
And no, it’s not a real game. It’s just something my subconscious did to me this morning, and seemed to make a point which I want to pass along to you.
 
People play these little games with God’s Word all the time.
 
One has to wonder about the people who toy with scripture, looking for obscure references which they can remake into something current, re-interpreting ancient prophecies about some long-gone civilization, assigning numbers to this or that, and then drawing major conclusions about what God is doing at this moment or about to do, probably tomorrow morning first thing..
 
And in the process, we might add, striking terror into the hearts of good and faithful (not to say naive) people.
 
Take the 666 from Revelation 13:18, the "number of the beast." What does 666 signify? Scripture games-players over the centuries have answered that in a thousand ways.  I recall one that applied it to President Reagan, of all people. Ronald Wilson Reagan. Three words of six letters each. Bingo, he’s the beast.
 
Common sense says there are a few million people on the planet at any given time with three names, all with six letters each.
 
Stop it.
 
Remember Mr. Whisenant, the guy who worked out the math in scripture and “proved” that Christ would return in 1988? (That being 25 years ago as we speak, clearly a large portion of our readers do not remember.)  He printed up a few million pamphlets and went public with the announcement. A lot of people believed him. Then, when the Lord did not cooperate, Whisenant announced he had misfigured and the big event would be held the next year for sure.
 
You know how that turned out.
 
Shades of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Their organization made a whole series of end-of-time prophecies year after year in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  At one point they were announcing 1914 as the year of Christ’s return based on the mathematical calculations and prophetical interpretations of their experts.  When that year rolled by without any sign that Jesus had returned (the big event of 1914 was the start of World War I), rather than admit that they goofed, their leaders decided that He had indeed returned, “sort of.”  He’d taken His seat in Heaven, they said, and that was what they had meant all along.  A half century later, when I was in seminary and trying to relate the gospel of Jesus to an inactive JW, he pulled out that doctrine and insisted on its truth.  And, who can argue with something that may or may not have taken place in the Heavens unseen by mortals? And so gullible people go on believing foolish things.
 
We are amazed at the things some people believe for no reason other than they obey their leaders. Oh, and they love their games.
 
I enjoy the occasional numbers game. I play Sudoku.  My phone has a Sudoku app and given a few minutes of idle time–I frequently chauffeur my wife to physical therapy or to doctors’ appointments–I pull it out and lose myself for fifteen minutes in its challenge.
 
Here are a few games I’ve seen people playing with Scripture…
 
1) Reading the Word in a search for contradictions to use against Bible-believers.  You can always find some, which I expect the Lord placed at strategic points just to satisfy fools and send them on their way.
 
2) Searching for humorous stories or incredible, unlikely events about which they can make jokes and turn into satire. What we laugh at, my friend, we will never take seriously again. God’s people must guard against anything that belittles or satirizes His truth.
 
3) Stumbling across the obscure references in the Word–and let’s be honest and admit there are more than a few of these–and giving fresh interpretations of our own to them.Since no one knows what they mean, who’s to say we’re wrong?  Religious cults excel in this dark art.
 
4) Playing with numbers. See the above.
 
5) Redefining symbols in light of current events.  Get creative and there is no end to this.  (I’m completely in awe of the tendency of the Lord’s people to see the least event in the Middle East as a harbinger of Armageddon.  You wonder what in the world these people would have done with the Second World War which a hundred million people were slaughtered!)
 
6) Throwing out scriptures that do not work for your theology, then telling your naive, unsophisticated audience that “the original language does not agree” with what they’ve been taught or “someone has been tampering with the original message as delivered by the angels” but naturally “I come to you today with the truth.”  God help us to be smarter than to fall for such foolishness.
 
7) Looking for the USA in Scripture. Also Obama and Russia.  Not too long ago, prophecy “experts” were harping on the European Common Market in some of those texts. How odd that we don’t hear that any more.
 
What we must not do is decide the Lord plays these game too.
 
Let’s give the Lord more credit than this.
 
The devil will use anything he can lay his hands on to divert God’s servants from actual Bible study and faithful service to Him.  Once he gets us to playing these games, knowing that nothing good will come from it and that we are tearing down a side street toward a dead end, he has a field day.
 
God’s Word is food for the hungry soul (see Matthew 4:4, also Job 23:12 and I Peter 2:2).
 
God’s Word is light for those in darkness (see Psalm 119:105, also Proverbs 6:23 and II Peter 1:19).
 
God’s Word is the seed of the new birth (see I Peter 1:23, also Romans 10:17).
 
God’s Word cleanses our souls (see Psalm 119:9, also John 15:3 and 17:7 and Ephesians 5:26).
 
Let us come to the Word of God to be taught, to receive instruction, to hear from the Lord. But let us never go to the Word to make it do something for which it was never intended.
 
It’s not called “Holy” for no reason, friend. This Word is God’s and we must handle with great care.

(If we wait until we can do everything perfectly, we will still be sitting here when the Lord returns. Let us be up and doing.)

“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23).

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10).

A minister who was interviewing for a position on the staff of my church said, “If I come as your (whatever the position was), I would not make any changes for the first year, but spend that time building relationships.”

That was it for me.  We have work to do, I thought. Relationships are good, but they may be built and must be maintained in the midst of doing the work the Lord has given us.

Stephen Dill Lee, well-known Confederate general who later became the founding president of Mississippi State University and served as a deacon at nearby Columbus’s First Baptist Church, once resigned from the church’s deacon board. He said, “When I was in the service, my approach was always to charge, charge, charge. Go forward. But these deacons don’t want to do anything.”

The minutes of the deacons from those years, the early 1900s, indicate that some prevailed upon General Lee and he agreed to stay on. Then, he chaired the church’s building committee that tore down the 1838 sanctuary and built the 1908 edifice which still stands.  He was a get ‘er done leader.

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly.” That has always been my philosophy.

Some of us have a running dispute over that little adage.  My wife Margaret’s version goes, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” Our friend Annie insists that her approach is, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.”

I imagine that at one time or other, each of those has its application.

Margaret points out that my philosophy–if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly–seems to endorse shoddy work. To the contrary, it’s saying “Even if we cannot do it perfectly, it’s still worth doing.”  I’ve drawn many thousands of cartoons for various publications over a half century, but not a one was perfect. Likewise, I suppose I preached five thousand sermons, all of them flawed in one way or the other. But they were worth doing.

Had I delayed until the cartoon was perfect or the sermon was without some weakness, we’d still be looking for the first one.

Recently, during my reading of several Civil War books, I’ve been struck by a life lesson demonstrated by the generals on both sides of the conflict.

Some generals were accused of inaction, not because they were afraid, but because they were perfectionists. They had to have everything “just right” before engaging the enemy.

General George McClellan seems to have been such a leader.  Put in charge of the Federal forces early in the War, he is said to have done a masterful job of planning and preparing his troops, organizing his forces, and inspiring his men. What he did not do well was actually engage the enemy with his armies and win battles.

Despairing of his inaction, President Lincoln pulled together some of the generals to formulate a plan. He commented, “If General McClellan does not want to use the army, I would like to borrow it for a time.”

He was removed and replaced by a succession of leaders until Lincoln found the one he was looking for: General U. S. Grant.

Grant was a “gung ho” fighter.  His style contrasted with most of his predecessors (as well as with the Confederate generals) who liked to wage a battle, then pull back and lick their wounds for a time, regroup, reorganize, make new plans, etc.  That method of warfare guaranteed that the conflict would go on and on, turning it into a marathon.

Grant’s plan was to keep pressuring the enemy. Once he pulled back to reorganize, you kept coming at him, giving him no respite, no relief, no time to get his people together to formulate new plans. By hounding him relentlessly, you made your enemy deplete his resources and run out of troops, all of which forced the war to an end more quickly.

Eventually, that’s how Grant led his forces to victory over the great Robert E. Lee.

In “Grant Takes Command,” a wonderfully readable volume by eminent historian Bruce Catton, Grant is seen as frequently frustrated by his own generals who would not move until every detail was in place.  He would send a courier with a message: “Move out against the enemy tomorrow at sunrise.”  The courier would return with the reply: “Unable to comply. The cavalry finds the going slow crossing the swamp. Will not be in place until sunset.”

In World War II, the U.S. Marines gave to the world the expression “gung ho!”  Wikipedia identifies this as a corruption of a name for a Chinese organization which originally meant something like “work together” or “work in harmony.”  However, the Marines turned it into a battle cry, a spirited call to action.  Even today, we speak of certain people as “gung ho” types.

Are there church leaders waiting until all the factors are right before beginning a ministry?  They should learn about faith.

By faith Abraham went out not knowing where he was going. By faith Noah built a boat far from the ocean. By faith Moses walked away from Pharaoh’s house without any assurance the Israelites would welcome him in.  By faith John the Baptist stood in the desert and began preaching.

James B. Sullivan, leader of Southern Baptists’ Lifeway ministry when it was still called The Sunday School Board, once told of a church in Mississippi whose old minutes he had been reading. Sometime around 1900 they decided to construct a new building. However, they needed more money and chose to wait until they’d raised enough. Then the First World War came along and that was followed by inflation of the 1920s and the Depression of the 1930s, and then the Second World War. The 1950s were unsettled with people moving about the country and the 60s saw racial riots and a loss of confidence in the government and the Viet Nam war.  Dr. Sullivan said, “At last report, that church still had not built their building.”

Waiting until all the conditions are just right.

The call to “get ‘er done” in the Lord’s work is based on a number of factors….

–the urgency of the hour.

–the reality of spiritual warfare.

–the need of our loved ones and those in darkness.

–the brevity of life.

–the will of God.

A young man I once knew was trying to establish a ministry in his apartment complex.  Interviewed by a reporter, he was quoted as saying he had no intention of telling anyone the gospel of Jesus until he had been there a solid year, that he was trying to build up their confidence in him.

I wrote him a letter.

“My friend, I have been doing such a ministry in my apartment complex in Jackson, Mississippi, and have found that the turnover rate for residents in these establishments is very high. In fact, around 30 percent move in or out every year.  I suggest that there is no time for you to enjoy the luxury of ‘earning their trust.’  You need to get on with the business of telling them about Jesus.”

I never heard back from him.

So, what are we waiting for? A better economy? Good weather?  All the bad guys to go away?  A warm feeling?

The Bible says, “He who watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap” (Ecclesiastes 11:4).

Let’s get on with it. Get ‘er done.

GO
Example: "Gen 1:1" "John 3" "Moses" "trust"
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