20 April 2009

I wonder

I was in prison yesterday. Yes in a maximum security prison for that matter. I didn’t go in as an inmate but as a minister. As a member of the Prison Outreach Network we frequently attend different prisons in and around the country to worship with the inmates. The services are always inspirational, the simplicity of the inmates never fail to amaze me, the worship is always breathtaking and that is without guitars, drums, piano or the other stuff that we think we need before we can praise God. To hear the inmates lift up their voices in one accord and praise God is just a blessing and one I always look forward to.

This got me thinking, about our churches today. You see in today’s church especially our Pentecostal ones the focus has shifted, I am sad to say that we no longer worship in spirit and in truth. Over the last few years, there has been a change from true worship to human worship.

Our pastors or leaders are held in high esteem, we the people come short of worshipping our leaders. It’s no longer what the word says, but what pastor this or that says.
I am all for giving honour to whom honour is due, but what qualifies one to receive honour? Who determines who gets honour?

Does being a pastor qualifies you to automatically receive honour and in what form?
Is there a separate place in heaven for pastors and leaders and for the rest of the people? If not why do leaders, pastors etc separate themselves from the rest of the people? Why are they so untouchable, unreachable, and unapproachable? Why the change? Why should the size of a congregation affect a Shepard's heart? If they are approachable before how come that changes once the numbers increased?

Today’s “leaders” (I use that word lightly because really we are all servants), are far removed from the people they’ve been called to serve. They are suppose to be the lead-servants of all of us and we are to follow their examples in savant hood, serving faithfully. Jesus was honoured even though he served his disciples, they saw his humility and servant's heart that they were humbled in his presence and compelled by what they saw, to serve him.

What happened to the days of simply walking up to your pastor without fear of being shoved aside by one of the body guards masquerading as protocol officers? What happens to the days of simply walking into his office and saying hello because you were in the building? You don’t need counselling, don’t want to be prayed for, or encouraged, you don’t want an appointment, and truth is you’ll only be 2 seconds.

What happens to the spirit of being a servant? What happened to we are called to serve not be served. Or the people are called to serve the pastors not the other way round? How come we qualify to be preached to, told what to do, admonish, encouraged from the pulpit, but we don’t qualify to embrace the pastor after the service. I know there are those odd ones who if given a moment with the pastor would recite their live's problems, but I think the pastor can kindly say please not now book an appointment with my PA. I genuinely think the majority of the congregation just want a simple hand shake after the service.

I wonder what happened to the Christ like spirit. Isn’t the meaning of Christian “Christ like” those who are like Christ?

You see Christ doesn’t look at me any differently than he does those inmates. We are all sinners saved by grace, whether it took them going into the prison to get saved or I being born into a Christian home. It is by grace we are all saved, the same blood was shed for us. In the same vain, God doesn’t regard pastor so and so or bishop so and so, more highly than the usher or the children’s teacher or the member who is simply a member. Let’s stop this segregation, this us and them attitude. I don’t think our leaders deliberately set out to be untouchable or unreachable. I think there was a shift in focus or purpose either because they became busier or pride found its way in.

Even our master described himself as a servant: Here’s a few of what he said:

For even the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and gave himself a ransom for many. Mark 10:45

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am GENTLE and HUMBLE in heart and you shall find rest for your souls. Matt 11: 28-29.

He was the greatest teacher of our time yet he described himself as lonely in heart
He was besieged by people from all places, yet he never turned one away.
He demonstrated his capacity to give unconditionally when he gave his life on the cross
He demonstrated his love for all when he choose to dine with those of unequal status as he
He demonstrated his humility when he choose to serve rather than be served
He was all things to all men
To the sick he was a healer
To the thief he was a saviour
To the prostitute he was a forgiver
To the dead he was the resurrection and the life
To the leper he was the cleanser
To the blind he was their sight
He chooses to serve rather than be served.
To the deaf he was their hearing
To the downtrodden he was an up lifter
To the unjust he was a judge.
He was sort by many and available to all.

I wonder if one of us or our big preachers today were in Jesus shoes how would they be described.
I wonder.
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