December 9, 2018

Pastoral Nuggets: The Process

Brother-Aaron-236x300In Matthew 4:19(KJV) Jesus said to His disciples, “… Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

In this scripture, it is undeniable that Jesus is giving the promise of a process that would turn ordinary fishermen into fishers of men.

However, if we’re not careful, we’ll run right by the fact that it wasn’t a promise of instantaneous change. It was rather a promise of a process that would culminate in life change and repurposed lives. It was the promise of a process.

Anything worthwhile in life is seldom the byproduct of some spontaneous, random event. It is almost always the culmination of a process that, when followed methodically, leads to the desire result.

In other words – life is a process that leads us from one transformation to another, to another, to another, etc.  And through a series of life events – we become!

However, three years was all the time Jesus had to transform this bunch of wannabe disciples. So, they were going to receive a crash course!

I think that somewhere along the way we lose sight of the fact that – life is a process. Things take time to develop. Sometimes when preaching I will illustrate this point the following way. I ask all the women in the congregation who are mothers to raise their hands. Hands go up.

Of those who raised their hands, I then ask those who remember the day and the moment that the doctor confirmed that they were pregnant, to raise their hands. Again, hands go up.

I then ask them how many of them gave birth the very next day. They look at me like I just stepped off Mars, or like a calf staring at a new gate. I then tell them that of course they didn’t give birth the next day. Why?

Because there was a nine-month process they had to go through before they were ready to give birth. Being pregnant doesn’t mean you’re ready to give birth. (And by the way, being old doesn’t make you wise and being saved doesn’t make you a mature Christian either.  Just threw that in there!)

The scriptures teach us that the maturation process for the disciples was, to say the least, interesting. Again, and again, and again, they blew it badly! Peter invented ways to put his foot in his mouth.

James and John were on a power trip worrying about which of them would be the greatest in heaven and it one of them could sit on Jesus’ right hand and the other on the left. Thomas doubted. And on and on I could go. But thank God, it wasn’t a one-time test. It was a process – a process that culminated exactly according to God’s plan.

I’m glad that I serve a God Who loves me enough to allow me to fail. In life, failure is just as much a part of the maturation process as success. Babies don’t learn to walk on their first attempt. They fall. They adjust. They try again.And somehow the process brings them to the point where they learn to walk.

Babies jabber before learning to form words. They slur through them.

But eventually the process teaches them to get it right.  Ain’t it amazing that we spend the first two years of our children’s life teaching them to walk and talk, and then spend the rest of their formative years telling them to sit and be quiet?

Christianity is a process. You may have blown it badly lately. It could be a thousand things – alcohol, drugs, divorce, adultery, lying, cheating, gossip, judging, stealing, or even self-righteousness. Wow! That last one hurt, didn’t it?

Here’s the good news. Christianity is a process. (Let that sink in!) You failed? Okay. Then get back up, ask forgiveness, learn from your failure, and reengage in the process God has for you. You see – He loves you. He really, really does!Even in your failure!

Brother Aaron

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