My freshman year, the track coach challenged me with, “Rick, you’re not fast enough yet to sprint for varsity track. But if you’ll run the 880, you can be varsity this year.”
A Tough Decision
It was tough. The 880 was two laps around the track, but it seemed like a marathon.
My First Race
At the first track meet, I came in last, sixty yards behind the winner. Coach said, “Rick, you’re going to have to dig deep, train harder, and run with courage.” At season’s end, at the District meet, I finished third. I medaled at District, as a freshman. I like a challenge.
A Guest Speaker
Randy Harris, of Abilene Christian University, was at Southeast Sunday morning and challenged the congregation to truly trust God. On Monday morning, at an area wide minister’s breakfast, he gave another challenging message. He asked about our spiritual quests, something we were obsessed about, with obsession being a good thing in that context.
He gave us a few minutes to think, then he shared his own:
- To daily live in the passion of Christ.
- To be simple.
- To become the peace of God.
As he explained them, and they had depth beyond what I can write about, it was obvious we were in the presence of a truly spiritual man. He was growing with God in ways we had not ever considered. It was inspiring.
He mentioned two ways that we could be in trouble:
- If we didn’t have any spiritual quests.
- If our quests were work related, not personal.
He spoke of running out of steam, of being depleted. Many ministers serve from an empty cup. Just pushing through by relying on talent and personality. Most church members aren’t aware; and neither are most church leaders, but it’s totally possible to serve God with an empty heart and an arid soul.
Ministry done well, day after month after year, with all of its problems, conflicts, suicides, death, broken marriages, tragedies and crisis can suck the life out of a minister’s soul.
What Churches Need
Our churches need ministers who aren’t just answer people, problem solvers, effective administrators, or magnets for growth.
What churches need, even if they don’t realize it, are ministers whose hearts are filled with the Spirit, whose souls are saturated with the Father’s presence, and whose lives are infused with the light of the glory of God.
But ministers, more often than not, serve without any of those divine values. They just keep going, and keep smiling. We all have families to feed.
It’s my responsibly to nourish my soul and fill my heart. But doing so requires different priorities and a quest for something that draw me into his presence.
What spiritual quest do you have? What feeds and fills your soul? Or are you content with attending church and living a decent life?
Think about it.