Sunday, September 24, 2006

In the Wee Small Hours (7)

Who is the Greatest?

Mark 9:34 But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.

Sometimes as pastors, we can become enamored with ourselves because of the amount of power that we hold over the people each time we get into our pulpits. Members and visitors politely listen to us, whether they agree or disagree with what we say. This can easily beguile us into thinking that we are better communicators and greater preachers than we actually are. It can lead to eccelsiastical egocentricity which begins to lead us down the road to being disconnected with the punters in the pew.

Whenever I feel like this, I’m reminded of two things. Firstly, I remember the street fight that the disciples had on the road to Jerusalem – they were so enchanted with themselves that they completely forgot they were in Christ’s presence.

Secondly, I’m reminded of my calling – I didn’t hustle God to make me a pastor; He called me. Any ministry, any preaching, and any pastoring comes from Him, not me. He brought me to this place, this church, and at this time. If there’s any greatness, it all belongs to God.

Sunsphere sunrise

I've been living in Knoxville, TN for the last eleven years. I love being here and this is the famous Sunsphere from the Knoxville’s 1982 World's Fair. It's also a constant reminder of how God called me here, to minister far away from the parishes I once served in Scotland.

When I was being tormented with the call to come to Knoxville, I just couldn't cope with it. I told God to leave me alone for a while and just let me relax. I sat down with a cup of tea and a cheese sandwich, intending to watch one of my favorite TV programs - the Simpsons. It was that creepy episode - the Cape Fear spoof.

As I watched the cartoon, I felt at ease because God had stopped afflicting my soul. I could get back to Him about the call after the show was over. And then God hit me with a 2x4. The Simpson family were sitting in the cinema and Homer was obnoxiously smoking a cigar. And what did the band read around the cigar?

World's Fair Park, Knoxville '82!

I think I’m the only pastor in existence who has been called to a church three thousand miles away by God through Homer Simpson. Plagued by greatness? Well, duh!

Stushie is the blogger of Heaven's Highway;the writer of Sky Pilots-resources for Busy Pastors; and also the host of the Radio Show "Seven Days"

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