It has been a few days since I have written anything. There has been a fog – whether physiological or spiritual, I don’t know – that I am working to overcome. The sun will come out from behind the clouds; that’s God’s promise. As I write this, the morning sun has raised it’s self over the clouds gathered on the horizon and is shining brightly on me, full in it’s glory and majesty. Isn’t God good?? In the same way, we have the Light of the Son, Jesus Christ. His Glory and Majesty are often obscured by the clouds and the darkness of the world when we don’t focused on Him. He isn’t hiding; we are. Silly people, won’t we ever understand that He is always with us, even we turn our backs and try to hide in the fog?
Initially, this was titled “Who Do You Follow?” God often has other plans and I need to listen to Him. These verses called me today and I have to share my thoughts on them. As Paul writes to the Corinthian church, his words apply even to us today. Substitute the names of Paul and Apollos and Peter with the names of any well-known pastors today and consider Paul’s words.
“Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in Christ. I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world? When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world? After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.”
“Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.” So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God .”
That last verse really gets to me. Think about it. In Biblical financial studies, we learned that everything belongs to God. Did you get that? Everything….. my house, your apartment, all of the appliances and furnishings inside, animals, vehicles, gardens – children, parents, siblings, spouse, significant other, and etcetera. It all belongs to God.
I tend to forget that. “Mine, all mine; my Precious!” For those who have read JRR Tolkien or have seen the movie “The Fellowship of the Ring,” you should get this. We can easily become like Gollum, whose obsession with a ring turned him into a sort of monster. Our obsession with things can be just as overwhelming as his was. We don’t change our physical form, but our spirit becomes warped and ugly. Even our spiritual leadership run this risk. The power to influence people is a pretty heady thing. Whenever I see a pastor or church leaders teaching the “gospel of prosperity,” or teaching that you have to make monetary contributions in order to be healed, or sitting in their throne-like chairs on stage in their expensive clothes and makeup and jewelry…. these are not from God!
A pastor’s job is teach about Jesus, not to promote themselves or their amusement park or their “ministry.” I don’t dispute that every ministry has to have a certain amount of monetary backing, but it is not the preacher’s job to extort his people for financial gain. Being a Pastor isn’t about getting rich, it’s about bringing people into the Kingdom of God and teaching us the Bible. Read verses 21-23 again:
“So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you— whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.”
Our choice – my choice – is this. I can focus on Jesus and trust that His Light will shine through the fog and burn it away (eventually!), or I can put my faith in a man or woman and trust them to take me out of the fog…. The difference is this. With Jesus, the fog may linger or it may be burned away, but it doesn’t matter which because I have the best navigation and protection system ever in Jesus and the Holy Spirit and His angels. With man, they may temporarily drag me out of the fog, but it’s still there, able to roll in and overtake me at any time.
I choose Jesus, Light of the world. The SON will come out and Shine! Amen!