“Jesus is here!”
Three of the smallest congregations in our town (one of which I pastor) have decided to do a series of combined worship services. We’re taking turns hosting each other on the first Sundays of February, March, and April. We had the initial one last week.
I arrived a little early and was sitting in a pew waiting for Sunday School to begin. A little tyke came in the door, looked at me, and immediately ran back out. He re-entered with his Grandfather who announced to me what his son had excitedly told him. He had exclaimed to his Grandfather, “Jesus is here!”
When I was a rookie pastor in my first appointment, I remember a similar thing occurring. I was leading worship, playing my guitar, and singing. A little guy was sitting in the front row with his mother. I later found out that he leaned over to his Mom and said, “God really has a nice guitar.”
These kinds of incidents are quite humorous when they occur. I always get a kick out the temporary promotions, but I certainly wouldn’t want the job. As we say these days, it’s way above my pay grade.
This reminds me of one of my favorite movies of all time—Bruce Almighty. In it, Bruce (Jim Carrey) is a chronic complainer. His complaints are often directed to God. Then one day, God appears to him in the form of a human (Morgan Freeman).
God bestows some heavenly powers upon Bruce and tells him to take over if he thinks he can do a better job. Bruce is more than willing, and God goes on vacation.
“I won’t ruin it for you.”
In case you’ve not seen it, I won’t ruin it for you. But, as you might imagine, Bruce screws things up royally. Any of us would.
The great thing about the movie (besides the fact that it’s very well done) is that it shows us how little we really consider what God does (and doesn’t do). We have no idea.
Yet there are adults (not just little kids) who ascribe heavenly powers to their spiritual leaders. For some reason, they think they can walk on water (or at least have the ability to bestow great works of wonder upon their congregations). What’s worse, some of these leaders begin to believe their own press.
The thing that has always impressed me about true Christianity is that it’s down to earth. By that, I mean, there’s a deep practicality to Jesus’ teachings. Sure, there are the miracles and the wonderment (the Resurrection being the foremost of these). But the everyday working out of our salvation is where the “rubber meets the road.”
“They ain’t God!”
Pastors, deacons, elders, bishops and teachers are just like everyone else. Please don’t count on them to be your all-in-all.
Hopefully they will do a good job in setting the tone and clarifying some Scriptural necessities. They might even have nice guitars. But know this—they ain’t God! If they try to be, they will screw up royally.