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A Spiritual Package Deal

  • Robert Leslie Holmes Pastor of Reid Memorial Presbyterian Church in Augusta, Ga., and Professor of Preaching at Erskine Theological Seminary in Due West, South Carolina.
  • 2010 4 Apr
  • COMMENTS
A Spiritual Package Deal

Maturity teaches us that often we put the focus on the wrong things. When I stand before the throne of the Lord Jesus, my ministry will not be judged so much by what I have done as by what I might have done and how much I could have done.

On that great day, building programs and large crowds will not count. If it were not so, Sun Myung Moon would stand closer to the shadow of the Savior than many faithful Christian preachers, for Moon—with his seriously erroneous Christology—has gathered larger crowds and raised more money and buildings than most of us ever will.

Similarly, our people and we will be judged not by how much we have given to missions, but by how much was still in our coffers after we finished giving. His question of us will not be, "How much did you give?" but, "How much of yourself was in what you gave?"

I remember visiting with an extraordinarily wealthy businessman. After we had visited awhile he said, "Well, how much have you come for?" I was shocked. My whole purpose in making the visit was to get to know the man. I told him I had not come for money. My words were, "I'm not interested in the money. I want the man."

Tough as he was, his eyes teared up. He said, "This is the first time in a long time this has happened. I thought all you preachers wanted me for was my money."

Christ similarly wants the person, not what we think we possess. Perhaps that is because He knows that when He gets the person, He also gets the possessions—a spiritual package deal. The issue is not what you have or have not done, but how much you have held back for youself.

"First they gave themselves to the Lord" (2 Corinthians 8:5). Paul praised the Macedonians because they had their priorities right. They gave themselves first to Jesus, then they brought their gifts willingly.

It is in the giving of ourselves first and completely that God is satisfied. When we do that, everything else falls into place.

I love pastors who preach, especially because for the last few years, I have given myself to teaching young pastors practical theology. However, I fear that it is a rare pastor who puts full shoulder to the wheel for Jesus. We have become "professionals" and "careerists." Let us be careful that we do not develop the notion of pastoral ministry as career or profession. What we have is neither of those. We have a call not to do but to be.Give Him all your heart: "My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my
ways" (Proverbs 23:26). When He gets the heart, He gets everything else, too.

He is the Lord of all our gifts. He does not need them; He needs us. Give Him the person!