“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you.” — Colossians 1:9.
Last week, sadly, I drove over to First Presbyterian Church in Wilson, North Carolina to collect my wife Rebekah’s car and clean out her office. The trip marked the end of possibly the shortest interim pastorate of all time. She worked one week, she fell, she broke five bones, she resigned.
But her short time was anything but wasted. The one beautiful Sunday in worship. The opportunity to meet with and encourage several groups. The instant sense of community. The chance to preach one foundational message.
The sermon was supposed to be the first in a series. But if she was limited to just one message, then I’m glad it was “The Gospel.” “Why,” she asked, “does this church (any church) exist?” And the answer — always — is to share the good news about Jesus, to communicate the message by living the truth of it out loud.
Maybe what God is showing us (through Rebekah’s dramatic ‘one-and-done’ tenure), is the power of sharing the essential gospel story? Then, having delivered it, to simply let it marinate, percolate, stew, steep, rest. Maybe ‘rest’ is the best of those words to get at this idea.
I don’t know who reads this column, but maybe this is a broader message to the church in general? Maybe we all need to sit on — to rest in — this foundational idea. I can imagine God’s assessment: “You had one job!” All of us, as believers, had one job: Tell the story, share the good news and invite people to come home.
Not to condemn, not to guard the door, not to judge, not to lecture, not to blame, not to berate, not to focus on other people’s sins, not to complain, not to discourage, not to reject, not to browbeat, not to manipulate …
“If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
“Lord, who could stand?
“But with you there is forgiveness,
“so that we can, with reverence, serve you.” — Psalm 130:3-4.
Just the one job. Simply to invite people home. — DEREK.