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Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Dear Colleagues,

14_11_19

CATTLE DRIVING OR SHEPHERDING: WHICH IS IT ? (Part #1 of #3)

On a recent trip abroad, I encountered pastors and lay people who were exhausted, over extended, and spending precious little time with their families as they labored to advance the church. Generally, their time with God was on the back burner. These are good people, who are well intentioned, but off balance and over-extended.

I was reminded of a successful business owner several decades ago who had a marvelous ministry in winning and discipling men. Some years later I called on him for lunch to reminisce over the “old days.” Before parting, I asked him about his family and dejectedly he stated that his 29 year old son wanted nothing do with him. When his son was 19 he informed him that he deeply resented the fact that during his formative years he never had time for him as he rushed out most evenings to do church work. He then broke down and wept like a baby.

Could it be that we in the West have adopted and exported a business model for advancing the church by utilizing corporate type objectives and strategies? That is, success is measured in terms of size and numbers. To achieve their lofty numbers and objectives the “ministry” is often fast paced, highly professionalized and production driven. The staff “produces” or they are out because it is all about the three big “B’s”: Bodies, Bang, and Bucks.

Could it be that high powered leaders in attempting to satisfy their own ego needs have often transferred their hard-driving modus operendi from a secular venue to a spiritual one – the church? By way of contrast, First Century Christianity was a family affair. They met in homes with a profound sense of community. Slamming and jamming to get people in the door was not their way. It was all about nurturing, loving, worshiping, feeding, and equipping fellow believers. In a word, Acts 2:42: They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” Thus, in a most natural fashion, the church went organic and grew spiritually and physically without a program centered agenda.

If we possess any illusion that we are in fact to co-labor with God, it is imperative that we operate with Him on His time table for the advancement of His Kingdom:

  • “…When the time had fully come, God sent his Son…” (Gal. 4:4)
  • "Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass…” (Isa. 37:26). (See Isa. 22:11)

  • “He has made everything beautiful in its time …” (Ecc. 3:11b). German scholars, Keil and Delitzsch comment: “The beauty consists in this, that what is done is not done sooner or later than it ought to be, so as to connect itself as a constituent part to the whole of God's work…In His world-plan, all things beautiful, falling out at the appointed time.”

This week, may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.

R. Dwight Hill







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