The Atheist Preacher
I recently wrote in a past blog of my desire to avoid the rat race of Christmas this year. Not only have I failed, I failed miserably. I have more Christmas parties and more activities this year than I can recall ever having. But these functions alone are not enough to make me a failure. No, the real reason I wanted to have a slower pace is so that I could focus more on God, and that is where my real failure lies.
I am a pastor and a church planter. I recently took a job as the teaching pastor at a newer church plant in Catoosa, Okla. It’s a great church with wonderful elders who help take some of the stress and work off of my shoulders.
I also have two little boys at home who have enough energy to power half of Manhattan. I want to move to be closer to my new job, so I am trying to get my house ready to put on the market as well as find a new home or even land to build a house on. So between starting a new job, trying to move to a new town, find land, build a house and give my wife and kids valuable time, I am also trying to finish a book I have been writing. And I’m trying to get this all done before Christmas, which ranks as one of the dumbest things I have ever tried to do.
Yes, it’s busy, and busyness isn’t always the problem. The problem is I am trying to make these things happen on my own accord. All of the things I am trying to accomplish seem very tangible and obtainable, which is also were the trouble lies. We function like atheists when we try to force godly results through mere human effort. When the things we are trying to do can be done by our hands alone, we tend to leave God out of the picture. As Christians, we are called to remember that no amount of human effort can guarantee godly results.
When we have several large tasks coexisting at the same time, we can be overtaken by a narrow focus and the overwhelming drive to just get things done. When this happens, other things seem to fall by the wayside.
For me, I fall into the trap of believing that these were things I should do on my own. I failed to take these plans and lay them at the feet of God and allow everything to work out in their own time. I was in a hurry and God wasn’t, so I took it upon myself to just keep moving ahead. I imagined myself as a steam engine courageously chugging up the mountain, when in reality, I was a dung beetle rolling a big pile of excrement. At those moments, I am a Christian pastor who is living like an atheist.
For me, stress and frustration are always the result whenever I try to move beyond what God is doing at the moment. I’m in a hurry but have no real idea as to where I am trying to go. I want peace and security and success, but these are not things that can be built with our hands. I, personally, must remember that the things I am ambitiously driven toward are not found in material things. They are, in fact, longings of the soul that only God can fulfill.