Summary: There is an all out attack against the church leaders and Christianity. We must guard our hearts and attitudes to stay focused on eternal values. How can we protect our hearts?
PROTECT YOUR HEART?
By Wade Martin Hughes, Sr. Kyfingers@aol.com (This is a two part lesson)
TEXT: Luke 21:26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
I had a dear pastor friend that pastored in the same city which I pastored. We became dear friends and mentored and shared our hearts. He had great success. I really enjoyed our time together. We served together on the CHAPLAIN ON CALL PROGRAM at the local hospital. We and other pastors served the hospital a week at a time. His church grew and grew. With his depth in the word and his personality the church grew. He was well respected and honored in the community.
I woke up one night and had this pastor in my heart. I was burdened and I cried and prayed for him. The next morning I called him and asked to take him to lunch. We agreed and we met at the hospital dining hall. I could tell he was very heavy about something. We got our food and sat by ourselves in the corner. He started crying and he was so angry. I just listened as he shared his heart. He had been at the church 4 years. He had great success. The church doubled and doubled again. I could not imagine what was making him so angry.
I said: SOUNDS LIKE YOU ARE NEAR BURN OUT? In anger he replied, I am not about BURNED OUT, I AM BURNED UP.
He said: Sunday School teachers do not prepare the lessons. The teachers often do not show up for Sunday School and they never call me to tell me. He explained Sunday a teacher never showed up and the class just sat in the room and caused trouble. He said: MY DEACONS NEVER DEACON. They make no visits, they attend church sporadically. They never help around the church and there is so much negative gossip. He said: MY WIFE AND I ARGUE ALL THE TIME. He went on to say: I AM NOT BURNED OUT --- I AM BURNED UP.
One day I was driving by the parsonage and saw a U-HAUL truck back to the door. I stopped, he was very busy but he took a moment and we talked. HE SAID: I HAVE HAD ENOUGH! I CAN’T TAKE ANYMORE. I asked what church was he accepting. He in anger and frustration told me he was done with pastoring and he was moving to another state. He had great potential but he allowed his anger, frustration, and burn out, depression and BURNED UP to distort his vision. He could not see the love, growth and community respect he had developed. He was focusing on people not the cross.
I kept pastoring the little church and I had little success compared to him. I often wondered about my brother and how was he doing? I was in a large Kentucky city and after my hospital visit I went to a large restaurant to eat. I was sitting by a window and saw a large 18 wheeler pull up in the lot. I saw my pastor friend climb out of the rig and come in to eat. I ran to the door and we hugged, I invited him to my table. We ate and talked. We sat there several hours and talked. We remembered our pastoring days. We started crying. He told me he had great success trucking and made a lot of money. He owned three big rigs and had several contracts to haul all over the nation. I asked about his wife and kids. He explained they had been divorced many years. He seldom saw his adult children. The family was bitter about the divorce. He had married again and was having trouble with his step children.
Through many tears I asked him: WHO MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE? WAS YOU RIGHT LEAVING THE MINISTRY OR WAS I RIGHT STAYING? I explained financially we have struggled and we have never had numerical success. Look you have made it… with great tears he patted my hand… He said: Without hesitation YOU MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE. I WOULD GIVE ANYTHING TO GO BACK AND HAVE ANOTHER CHANCE. He said: I should have went on a vacation. I should have helped people to learn and grow. I should have had patience with myself, with people and with God. He said I HAVE DREAMED MANY TIMES OF THE WORDS I TOLD YOU: I AM NOT NEAR BURN OUT, I AM JUST BURNED UP.