I rarely dream, but when I do, it is about something in my conscious thoughts. The aspiration I will share with you comes with a great message.
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” Acts 20:28
I dreamed, recently, my wife and I was driving through a neighborhood on a brief sight-seeing tour of a town. She stopped the car as we noticed a church called Humbled Ministries. The billboard outside the church flashed a recognizable pastor’s name – it was someone I longed to meet. It piqued my curiosity, even though I detest ministers who advertise religion as if they are running for a political office.
Like so many other famous clergymen, he is so unobtainable when the public reaches out to him. But I thought, wow! I can finally write this off my bucket list. I climbed about six or seven steps and cracked open one of the heavy double doors. For such a large church, it had a small vestibule! Another set of double doors led into a tiny sanctuary. I didn’t understand the complexity of having such scaled-down amenities in an enormous complex.
I stood in the doorway and could literally count the number of parishioner’s heads. It confused me! Why would this church, in the middle of nowhere, and partially filled with poor, working-class people have a prominent named evangelist on their marquee? I stood quietly in the doorway, waiting for his grand entrance to the pulpit. A pastor, instead, was reading scriptures from the Book of Luke.
So, where was this all-powerful minister I was dying to meet? Suddenly a telecaster flashed the famous face in living color. My inner thoughts were best not spoken in church. I found myself in another dead-end altercation, much like meeting the wizard who lived in the land of Oz.
As I woke from the dream, my thoughts gathered a list of renowned clergymen, only seen on TV or the internet who oddly title themselves “men of Christ.” You know who I mean, don’t you? They wear their $600 suits on camera and speak the Lord’s messages. Regular outsiders can never reach them because customer service staff filters the calls and emails. They are much too busy to talk to those who need guidance. Doesn’t this tell you a lot about who they truly are and what is more important to them? Money!
“Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others. “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.” Matthew 23: 5-8
When Jesus walked upon the earth, His integrity and personal touch WAS His message to the world. He blessed the poor, healed the sick, and scorned the rich who believed in their idolatry of money. He made little of His contacts in religious settings. Jesus asked most of the questions in conversations because it was His way of connecting with people’s thoughts and feelings.
Today, we can turn on the television and see the fancy attire of ministers parading behind a pulpit. They make millions from their shows and books, yet they are unreachable because they are categorized a “personality.” Is this really how Jesus views them? It’s no wonder many Christians walk away from sanctuaries!
If we only understood, it would sadden Jesus, today, by the clergymen who claim themselves a “personality.” Ordained ministers bear the privilege and responsibility of being servants and leaders in the ministry of the Church. The keyword here is servants. Yes, these famous pastors I speak of today are spiritual leaders, but are they servants? Are they sustaining the community of the faithful? No, they do not, unless it’s accompanied by a hefty paycheck. It’s an incredible disgrace to the Church!
I find it strange we lost the very essence of God’s intentions. I can only pray for those who’ve lost their way and are searching for the only gift they cannot find – a good steward to give them advice and peace. The gift from God is the joining of hands in prayer and leading the believer to worship through personal contact. Communication will set the integrity in relationships between the clergy and members in society – not a television screen. Oh, if we only understood… the mockery!
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