I had a friend when we were in Columbia, Tennessee, who was the pastor of the largest church in town, and in many ways he was a very successful minister, except his church was full of problems. Whatever you said or did, is the way he reported to me, there was a big problem. He got so sick and tired of it. I saw him downtown one day and I said, "How's it going?"This goes along with a Scripture that the Lord directed me to a few days ago. It's First Corinthians 4:5, "Do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness, and will disclose the purposes of the heart."
He said, "Terrible. I'm thinking of quitting."
"Aw, you're not going to..."
"Oh, you don't want to quit."
He said, "You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to buy a little piece of land over in Arkansas in a rice field, and I'm going to build my own church. It's going to be a study where I can do my work, and it'll have a beautiful tall spire, and that'll be it. No sactuary. No Sunday school rooms. No fellowship hall. No members. Just me and God."
Clean up the rolls. It's a natural inclination, but the difficult part, the difficult part of this story is that the boss said, "Leave the weeds alone."
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
the wheat and the tares
A friend of mine retired from ministry not long ago and gave me a bunch of books. One of them was Craddock Stories, which is a collection of stories from Fred Craddock's sermons and writing. Here's a good illustration for Matthew 13:24-43: