I Wish I Had . . .

September 27, 2012 by  
Filed under A Monday AM BLOG

When you come to the end of your days which of these three (3) statements will best characterize your desire:

1.  I wish I had invested more time in Planning.

2.  I wish I had invested more time in Preparing Sermons.

3.  I wish I had invested more time in Prayer.

Option #3 is almost always the response I receive from Pastors when asked to respond to this issue.

Answering the question is the easy part. Now let’s dig deeper. Why is that so?

Unrelenting self-reliance. Sin deceives us. It tells us with persistent wooing that we are in control, that we can do ‘whatever we set our mind to do’. Really!

We can Plan. We will invest hours, days planning, plotting and pondering all that ‘we will do’. James provides copious wisdom in a few words – Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil (James 4:13-16).

We can Preach. We will invest hours, days, months preparing sermons. Indeed, that we should. Time invested in careful exegesis and the development of the logic and content of the text is time well invested. Delivering this carefully crafted material to God’s people is honoring His call upon our life. Close, but no cigar!

We can Pray. The problem is, we don’t. Why? Because in our heart of hearts we still do not fully comprehend what Jesus meant when He said – – “without me you can do nothing.” One significant dimension of sin is self-reliance. Pastors are generally “Type A” personalities. We will conquer the world. Just get out of our way and be amazed at what we can do. Oh how foolish. Oh how arrogant. Oh how tragic.

Planning and Preaching are vital. Our God is honored when we express diligence in both of these activities. He is not honored by mediocrity. We should always deliver excellence. He delights even more when we come in humble adoring joy, seeking His grace and provision through quiet pensive prayer. Listening more than speaking. Praying through the Scripture. Learning in Prayer what God taught those who have gone before us and recorded their journey for our benefit (1Cor. 10; Hebrews 11).

So imagine yourself on the threshold of eternity, ready to step from this life to the next. What will you wish you had done more of? I thought so.

The link takes the reader to a very helpful article on the importance of prayer if we are to find optimal effectiveness in ministry.


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