I wrote my 400th post at the end of last week; it had to do with the purpose of TBTB and discussed whether or not personal challenges excluded pastors, priests or any spiritual leader from being able to assist other people. I wrote it to plant a stake in the ground about what this space is all about – that is, pointing people to God, the author and perfecter of our faith – the One who can solve all your problems.
I was not prepared for the onslaught of responses I received. In fact, there were more comments made about that post than any of the 399 before it. I heard from board members, lay leaders, my Jewish friends (who are avid readers of this blog), a rabbi and many members of local Bible studies. To say nothing of all the other readers who emailed me comments as well. In fact, there wasn’t a single negative comment among them – it seems that people understand that spiritual leaders are human and have the same types of issues that everyone else has. In fact, I was amazed at the words of encouragement that poured in supporting spiritual leaders. In the world today, that is something of a rarity. On a side note, a little known fact is that only 6% of religious or spiritual leaders think of themselves as leaders – most of them embrace the notion that they are just being obedient to the call on their lives by God.
While the verdict clearly indicates an understanding of TBTB’s core purpose, I wanted to take a little time to talk about how God relates to our problems, and I don’t mean just the problems of spiritual leaders. God wants us to approach Him with the things in our life that are not right. In fact, He wants us to depend on Him, even when we think that we can handle our problems alone. Because that becomes a slippery slope. If we stop depending on God, then we are less likely to return to Him the next time we could use His help. Eventually, we will stop calling on the God of the universe all together and then we are in big trouble.
So why don’t all people just take their problems to the throne room of heaven? Well, several reasons. As difficult as it is to understand, some people don’t think that they are worthy of being helped by God. So they don’t ask. Others believe that God is too busy to care about them individually. Still others think that God started the world spinning in the beginning and now sits back and watches what is going on – but isn’t active in our world today. Finally, others don’t even think to ask God for help. It’s not even an option on the menu – go figure.
Every once in a while I even hear somebody tell me that it is not biblical to think that God wants to know about our problems. That just isn’t true – the Bible is quite clear on the subject. And that brings us to the verse for tonight, from Matt. 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” These words are from Jesus Himself. He implores us to come to Him with our issues.
The idea is that Jesus wants us to be tied or “yoked” to Him. He lets us know that He has mastered the way to give us rest for our souls. And who among us doesn’t need more of that? Jesus also lets us know that He is humble and gentle, both traits that He would wish for us to have. Of course, Jesus also wants us to learn from Him. As we progress in our Christian walk, we should become more Christlike in our behavior – resulting in what we call “perfect sanctification” when we arrive in heaven.
My encouragement tonight is that God wants you to approach Him with your concerns and your fears. So please take Him up on His offer. My prayer is that as you progress through your life, the influence of Christ will continue to transform you into a better person and a better model for others to follow – especially members of your family. And when you run across members of the clergy who are struggling, you may just reach out and let them know that you are praying for them as well. On behalf of that entire community, I know we would appreciate it. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…