I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. –Galatians 2:20.
Have you ever worked for a control freak, the kind of person who delights in hiring people to fire them? Have you ever played in a team sport where one of your teammates insisted on trying to do it all?
In my book, The Perils and Parables of Pastor Preechet, much of it has to do with the issue of control. Who’s in charge here? Is it the pastor? Is it the official church board? Is it the South versus The West? Is it white versus black? Is it good-old-boy networks, or is it God?
I once pastored a church where, upon beginning, I asked the official board for some office equipment. There was nothing—not even a typewriter. A lady in the church donated an IBM electric outdated model. I told them we needed a copy machine. The chairman of the board said, “Over my dead body! We’ve done very well over the years, thank you, and no previous pastor has ever asked for these things. You can jolly well get along without them too.”
I had to travel to churches in distant communities who agreed to let me use their copy machines.
A couple of years later in our Wednesday night Bible studies, we were working through the book of Ephesians. When we came to chapter 1:22-23, this board chairman sat reflectively, then, in a eureka moment said, “Wow! We are not in control of the church after all, are we? Jesus is!” It was a revolution in that man’s life and, hey, we got the much-needed copy machine, and that was just for starters.
The first and second kings of ancient Israel come to mind. The first, King Saul, was leading his troops in battle against the hated and always dangerous Philistines. While waiting for the prophet Samuel to offer sacrifices to God, the king jumped in and offered them himself because he was afraid he would lose the battle. When Samuel took him to task, Saul told him he took charge without seeking the Lord’s favor. Problem here? God was still the rightful King, and Saul knew it.
Later, God sent Saul and the armed forces of Israel to battle against a nomadic army, the Amalekites. He was ordered to destroy everything, including the livestock. He allowed his men to spare some of the best of the sheep and cattle. When Samuel went to meet him, he was nowhere to be seen. He had gone to the top of Mt. Carmel to erect a monument to himself.
Worse still, once back in Gilgal, Samuel heard sheep bleating where there weren’t supposed to be any. Upon inquiring, he discovered Saul and his men had held them back. Saul’s excuse: to sacrifice them “to the Lord your God. Not only had he disobeyed orders, he now only acknowledged God as Samuel’s and no long his. Why? He had to be in control and, because he took control, he was out of control, so much so, he eventually ended up being killed in battle.
By contrast, David, the second king of Israel decided to build a temple to God. This would be the most beautiful structure on earth in his love for the Lord. He was putting all the plans together when God spoke to the prophet Nathan and told him not to proceed.
David not only walked away from his project—he wondered aloud why God ever considered a person like him to be the king of this great nation.
To sum up these two men, David was described by Samuel as a man after God’s own heart. Conversely, Saul turned out to be a man after his own heart.
The bottom line in life is not about how much money is in the bank. It’s about who’s in control.
In the early days of the Billy Graham Crusades, his song evangelist Cliff Barrows led choir and congregation in a little chorus at the end of each service:
Send a great revival in my soul!
Send a great revival in my soul!
Let the Holy Spirt (of God) come, and take control;
And send a great revival in my soul!
I pray that for you as you meditate upon this month’s Blogspiration, and God bless you.