Do What Pleases Him
Last Sunday right before our pastor was to preach, I leaned over and said to Jane, "I want to race the pastor to the pulpit and preach this sermon." The call to preach is permanent. It is wonderful how the work that pleases God also pleases the person called to do the work. When I pass a large church building, my pulse quickens. I may even salivate. The urge to preach, to lead, to make it happen, just won't go away. Jane says that I will end up in a skilled nursing facility full of preachers, and we will just preach at each other all day. She thinks I will like it.
When God gives you a desire to do something, it doesn't diminish. The body and the mind may weaken, but you can't help fulfilling his call on your life until you can't do it anymore. Most Sundays I do not preach. I do a lot of speaking and communicating, but Sundays find me in the same pew at my church. For the most part, this is because my pulpit has morphed into the written word. Most Sundays I am content to sit, but not always. I still struggle because I know I could be somewhere preaching.
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Sunday mornings before church I lead a community of men and women who are committed to a life of discipleship. They are willing to live with accountability, to push themselves into new habits that will transform them into little Christs. Year after year I work with people like these, and they are changed. They go on to lead others. I believe that I am accomplishing more by being in community with people than I would if I could preach at them for thirty minutes each week. Because when you live by covenant, you can't blow each other off. You must listen, trust, be humble, and live sacrificially. I think this accounts for my contentment in the pew. And it all stems from a desire and a power that God gave me on that wind-blown plain in east Africa in the summer of 1968, and I can't stop.
When it comes to pleasing God, I have had a lot to learn. The first twenty-one years of my life I thought what would make God happy would make me sad. I lived in a church world of women without makeup, jewelry, or uncut hair. Women, including little girls, wore long-sleeved dresses even on the hottest summer day. Boys were not allowed to wear shorts, which prevented them from playing most sports. Kids were not allowed to play on Sunday, see movies, watch television, or in general do all the things kids enjoy. I was taught that holiness was the deprivation of human pleasure, that the less pleasure a Christian had—the less we desired anything—the more God was pleased. I got out as soon as I could.
I no longer think that pleasure and desire are bad. In fact, I believe that most Christians suffer from a lack of desire.
Written by Bill Hull
Taken from The Christian Leader by Bill Hull. Copyright © 2016 by Robert W. Hull. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.