I want to be your pastor because you intrigue me. Sounds kinda selfish when I say it like that, huh? But it’s the best way to say it. I’m interested in you, your story, your likes and dislikes, your talents and your experiences. And I’m willing to listen.
There’s an outward movement in Christian spirituality that comes directly from the teaching of Christ and certain Pauline texts which push the envelope on being aware of the people around you. Jesus teaches a “neighborliness” in Luke 10:25-37 that has nothing to do with proximity or gain, but everything to do with seeing needs and moving outside my own wants to serve others, being aware and not just passing by other people’s lives. Paul follows up with a lot of statements about caring about one another, but my favorite is found in Philippians 2:1-11, “Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
We miss something very important to being human and being a Christian when our religion and spirituality lead us to tell others what to be interested in more than listening to what interests them.
Now, I will at times fail at this very thing I believe so deeply. There will be times I’m caught up in being busy, and I will fail. There will times that I am so interested in my own interests, so excited to tell you what I’m thinking, that I will fail… I am a “preacher” after all.
What I ask, no… what I invite you to do is break in on me. Maybe even, well… shush me. Just do it with some grace and some love. Give me a chance to hear you and understand. I might be distracted some days, but I still want to get to know you.
Please be you, and I’ll try to be me. When we get the authenticity right God’s amazes us, and I’m excited to see where we might go. It’s always been our struggle, to quit bringing God some manufactured gift, some consolation prize, instead of the reality of our open selves, “Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Psalm 51:15-17.
If I can serve you today, as a pastor and a friend, just let me know.
I believe in you.
I’m sure I’ve blogged enough over the years about my belief in God and Christ… but I don’t think I’ve ever actually blogged about how much I believe in you, you my friends, you my family, you my neighbors. I believe in you.
I don’t believe in you in some silly way that romanticizes your chances at becoming President one day. Instead, I believe that you are good. You are beloved.
I believe in you.
I believe you should be you.
I do not believe it’s my job to change you.
I believe in God in you.
I believe in God’s love for you.
I do not believe God’s love will ever leave you.
I believe in your love.
I believe in your wisdom.
I do not believe your mistakes define you.
Jesus believes enough in you, in us, that he once described us as salt and light. The Psalmist once described us as a little lower than God, just a little. Don’t worry, I’m not thinking we’re at all close to dethroning the Almighty. I am however pretty excited about sharing some life with you. Let’s do this!