Honestly... I was nervous about reading it, but now that I'm done, I highly recommend it. It challenged me in very personal ways, in ways involved in the Church--if you're a leader, I think you should get your hands on it.
Peter Scazzero was a senior pastor of a large church when he realized that there was a lot of "stuff" in his own life that he needed to work out. In order to do that, he and his wife took several months off--not pastoring, not leading a ministry, not in the church. In his reflection about that time, he had some surprising thoughts:
"God met us in profound ways. I recognized that I was still too active and my first work was to seek him above all else, not to be a pastor/leader (cf. Ps. 27:4)."
I read this sentence.
Then I read it again.
Finally on the third try, I set down the book. I started thinking.
Above all else, Peter was called to be a follower of Jesus. The end. Out of that relationship would flow his job as a pastor, his leadership abilities, his administrative skills (or lack thereof). First and foremost, he was to follow Jesus.
He references Paslm 27:4.
The one thing I ask of the Lord—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
The Psalmist doesn't say, "One thing I seek most--to preach every Sunday and be the spiritual leader of thousands of people." The Psalmists "one thing" was to spend time with God. The end. To be with the Lord, living with Him, delighting in Him, learning about Him, breathing the same air He does.
Peter and his wife, in taking time away from what they thought their "one thing" was, realized how wrong they'd been.
When I read this, I had to put the book down. I was forced to pause.
I love Jesus with every fiber of my being. I will follow Him forever. I've seen what else is offered there, waivered on my descision, questioned my faith and His faithfulness, and know that without a doubt He is the One I choose because He chose me.
But... I've spent so much of my life waiting. Waiting to be a pastor. Waiting to let my skills and abilities work themselves out in the Church. Waiting for the accountability and responsibility that comes from a life in ministry that is different than a volunteer role in a church.
Feeling unwanted at times. Feeling unimportant--struggling with my own pride. Trying to do the best I could do in the positions I was granted. Flourishing and failing. All the while... waiting.
And here I am, in a brand new church start-up that I love dearly, surrounded by people who I care about, excited for what we are doing in our beautiful, vibrant city, thrilled to say finally!, and then...
"I recognized that I was still too active and my first work was to seek him above all else,
not to be a pastor/leader."
not to be a pastor/leader."
Right. Right, I knew that.
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. ~ Matthew 6:33
Seek. Jesus. First.
My main requirement in life, my "one thing" is not to lead, to pastor, to preach, to set up communion, or do the budget (though I happily do those things!). My "one thing" is to seek Jesus. To know Him better today than I did yesterday because I, like the psalmist, sat in the house of the Lord. I cannot lead others unless it is an outflow of that time.
And when I spend that time with Jesus, when my "one thing" is centered where it should be, perhaps I, too, will be saying, "God met us in profound ways."