Yesterday I retired from pastoring after spending the last 25 years at Main Street Baptist Church in Doylestown. Many, many thanks to those of you who came and/or wrote something for me. It is very humbling and extremely gratifying to hear all you said. If even half of it is true I am a deeply blessed man!
I shared 2 lessons I learned in my 70 years of life. The first lesson is that God doesn’t need me but I need Him. While that may seem obvious, and while it’s something we have always known in our heads, it seems to take awhile for us to really plunge the depths of this truth.
When I started in ministry I was very excited at the opportunity to use my gifts and talents for God. There was so much I wanted to accomplish. I was “expecting great things from God and doing great things for God.” I knew I needed His help to carry out these desires but I had no doubt with God’s assistance they would happen.
The older I got, though, the more clearly I saw that I have nothing to offer. It’s not a teamwork operation; it’s all His grace and mercy. I felt like a little boy thinking he can hit a baseball a mile when it is really his father standing behind him, wrapping his arms around his son and holding the bat with him that is making contact with the ball. Without my heavenly Father’s arms wrapped around me I’d miss it by a mile every time. Every once in awhile, when I insist on doing things my way, God lets me see how unable I am to produce what I desire.
Truly it’s not about me, it’s all about Him! As I slowly but surely mature spiritually I find God keeps getting bigger and bigger. I, by comparison, keep getting smaller and smaller. And that’s not a bad feeling! There’s something freeing about “letting go and letting God.” When I think I have nothing to offer He does something to encourage me to keep on going.
There’s a real peace that comes with letting God be God, with recognizing He doesn’t need me to run His Kingdom down here and to humbly come to the conclusion that I can’t do ANYthing without Him. When that becomes more than words but takes on reality in my life then I start listening to Him more. I spend less time asking Him to help me with what I am doing and more asking Him what He wants me to do. I’ve see some of my biggest plans lying in ruins by the wayside, but I find He has used me to touch lives at times and in ways I didn’t expect. I’ve learned that people come before program. I’m here to serve others; they aren’t here to serve me. I’ve got more peace and more patience because I know that if I am in His will then He will bring whatever results He wants whenever He wants them. God doesn’t measure success by numbers (people, dollars, possessions, etc.) but by faithfulness. So I’ve learned to spend more and more time making sure I am doing what He wants and less and less trying to get Him to prop me up and bless my plans.
I’ve retired from pastoring Main Street Baptist Church, but my ministries through CTO in India for teens, in spiritual warfare and marriage retreats will continue. And it is true more than ever, God doesn’t need me but I need Him all the more! (June 27, 2016 Doylestown PA)
Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
If God withheld His grace and help from your life, what would it be like? What could you accomplish for Him on your own, without His help? How often do you try to do this?
How natural is it for you to give credit to God for EVERYthing that happens?