“I’m not sure what brought him to mind yesterday,” Stan began, “but I was thinking about the pastor of a church we were involved with before we moved here.”
“What were you thinking about?” I asked.
“The man was a good pastor to the congregation,” Stan responded. “Also a great teacher for being so young. But he wasn’t around too long. After a couple of years, he announced that he was resigning.”
“Did he say why?” I asked.
“Not in his resignation announcement,” Stan replied, “but I knew him fairly well and I talked with him about it.”
Continuing, he said, “What the pastor told me as his reason for leaving is, I suppose, not too uncommon. Actually quite common for all of us when we lose track of what we are supposed to do.”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Did he lose track of something?”
“Based on what he told me,” Stan replied, “I think he did. He said he was disappointed by the lack of growth in the number of people attending church.”
“Was that the case?” I asked. “Was there not an increase in church attendance?”
“It didn’t seem that there were more people,” Stan responded, “but I can say that, at least from my standpoint, people were learning a great deal from his teaching. I definitely sensed, from what the pastor had to say in his messages, that I was moving along the path towards greater spiritual maturity in being a disciple.”
“Did the pastor end up leaving?” I asked.
“He did,” Stan replied. “And I believe the bottom-line reason is that he lost track of what he was supposed to do. I think he forgot the basic assignment God gave him.”
“Which was what, if it wasn’t to increase church attendance?”
“With what is called the ‘Great Commission’,” Stan replied, “Jesus told this pastor to go and make disciples. Jesus did not say that the pastor was to go and increase the size of the congregation. That might or might not happen, but that’s up to God.”
“The pastor seems to have lost track of the basic assignment. I think he got caught up in the world’s measurement of success and forgot how God measures success. It’s quality, not quantity!”
Concluding, Stan said, “Same with me. Maybe the Holy Spirit brought this pastor into my memory yesterday so I would remember that I am here to do what God has for me to do. Period. The results of my obedience are up to God, not up to me.”
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19, 20.
Prayer: Thank you, Father, that you have things for me to do for you while you keep me on this side of eternity. Thank you for the truth that it is your “Well done!” that matters. I confess that too often I tend to want the world’s approval, rather than yours, and that I want to measure my “success” by the world’s standards, rather than your standard, which is the standard of obedience. Please forgive me. And please help me in following your lead in being obedient to what you have for me to do and to be on this side of eternity, making my obedience to you the only criterion, not measuring anything according to the world’s standards. Thank you I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Things to think (and journal) about:
1. What is your biggest take-away from this devotional?
2. What does this devotional say about God and about us as His people?
3. What is God saying to you to do personally?
4. Who can you share this with to make a difference?
Comments, questions, suggestions, and the like can be addressed to The Storyteller at: firstname.lastname@example.org.