Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The most important thing

I like to listen to talks and sermons while I mow my yard so the other day I went on YouTube and pulled up Francis Chan's sermon, The Holy Spirit's Power and Our Efforts.
Right there on my riding mower, I had a come to Jesus meeting.  His sermon had a profound and immediate impact on me.  Not that the message was something that I hadn't heard before, it just came at the right time and was delivered in a way that struck a deep chord in my spirit.
Chan asked the question, "What do you work hardest toward?"  Then he gently reminded me that the most important thing for me personally to work toward was not the tasks on my to do list, or accomplishing great things.  The most important thing is developing my character and who I am in Christ.  I realized right then that I had ventured off course, gotten a little too preoccupied with changing the world and forgotten about changing me.  As I thought about my situation, I realized that most all of the pastors and church planters I coach have so much on their plates that their tasks never seem to end.  They become overwhelmed by requests of their time and unrealistic expectations and are even more prone to falling into the trap of chasing the urgent. Pastors, leaders, all of us can easily neglect the most important thing, to foster the growth of self. The irony is, Chan declared, that when we sacrifice the important for the urgent, we end up with neither.  We will not be the person that God wants us to be and we won't accomplish His goals. 
However, when we are the right person, things will happen. We will produce the fruit and we will fulfill our purpose in Christ.  As Jesus said, "I am the vine and you are the branches.  He who abides in me shall bear much fruit, but apart from me you are nothing."
The apostle Peter also addresses this in 1 Peter 2:5, In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God's promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. NLT
God is more interested in changing us than for us to accomplish great things for Him. He loves you and me so much that He doesn't want us to stay where we are.  
The question I have to ask myself, do I want to change?  Or do I just want more stuff, more accomplishments?  Will I settle for surface and cosmetic modifications or will I strive for real change, deep in my character and my soul?  If so, I'll need to sacrifice the urgent for the important.  I'll need to devote time and effort into being who God wants me to be, the most important thing and all other things will be added.
Image: Danilo Rizzuti /

1 comment:

Nanners said...

Hey John! This is EXACTLY what God's been speaking to me lately too!! John 15 has really jumped out as a reminder of where the "fruit" we're called to have comes from. It's from "remaining" in the vine!

Thanks for this blog post. A good reminder.

What Do Nesting Dolls and the Gospel have in common

Ephesians 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by w...