Summary: A message to the church to say like Paul, please bear with me in my folly.
Bear With Me, Please
By Pastor Jim May
1) Three pastors got together for coffee one day and found all their churches had bat-infestation problems. "I got so mad," said one, "I took a shotgun and fired at them. It made holes in the ceiling, but did nothing to the bats." "I tried trapping them alive," said the second. "Then I drove 50 miles before releasing them, but they beat me back to the church." "I haven’t had any more problems," said the third. "What did you do?" asked the others, amazed. "I simply baptized and confirmed them," he replied. "I haven’t seen them since."
2) Some pastors preach "longhorn sermons," a point here, a point there, and a lot of bull in between.
3) One pastor never prepared during the week, and on Sunday morning he’d sit on the platform while the church was singing the hymns desperately praying, "Lord, give your message, Lord give me your message." One Sunday, while desperately praying for God’s message, he heard the Lord say, "Ralph, here’s my message. You’re lazy!"
4) A stranger entered the church in the middle of the sermon and seated himself in the back pew. After a while he began to fidget. Leaning over to a white-haired man at his side,evidently an old member of the congregation, he whispered: "How long has he been preaching?""Thirty or forty years, I think," the old man answered."I’ll stay then," decided the stranger, "He must be nearly done."
So much for the fun and games of being a pastor – now let’s down to business. I have a message tonight that I am not comfortable in bringing to you, mainly because, in many ways, it seems so self-serving. But I believe that this is what the Lord wants me to say, and so I will say it to the best of my ability.
2 Corinthians 11:1-4, "Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."
One thing that I have often had to consider, in being a pastor, is whether what I do is effective and what I say is based solely upon the Word of God.
I cannot tell you the number of times, after the sermon is over, and the people walk out the front door, that I have wondered, God, did I do what you wanted? Did I say what you wanted, and with the right spirit and manner of speaking? Did I edify the Body of Christ, or did I bring grief upon your people?
I don’t care how long a man or woman may minister to God’s people, this is always a concern.
Sometimes I think of myself as being much too hard – but then I know that God’s Word is sometimes hard because of the sin and rebellion in hard-hearted men, even those who are a part of the family of God. At other times I wonder, God, did I soften the blow too much? Did I make the sermon too easy? Is that why there was no response?
The fact is that I know the responsibility of my calling. I know the seriousness of my position as pastor and preacher and spiritual leader of this church. I do not take it lightly for I know that I will have to answer to God for every word spoken here and every thing that I do.
Hebrews 10:31 says, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." That is especially true if your hands are covered with the blood of those whom you have led down the wrong path.
I hope that you pray with me all the time, that God’s will is done, and that only what the Word of God says will be preached from this pulpit.
Yet, even though I endeavor to do my best, there are times when I know that I haven’t. All of you are so gracious and kind to encourage me even when I know that you have had to endure through the message because I had to endure through it too.
That’s when I must say, like Paul said it, “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.”