A Spiritual Slap Upside the Head

I must confess – I do not always practice what I preach. A few weeks ago I had a blog post where I talked about measuring what matters. I was noting how numbers of people attending church and the number of people doing good works is not the best measure of effective ministry – and certainly not the best way to measure the movement of the Holy Spirit. It was written from my heart. Unfortunately, I, more often than not, tend to listen to my head without consulting my heart. Until God reminds me.

As a pastor, I know I am not alone in my tendency to look at the Sunday numbers. Even before I leave for lunch on Sunday I am usually checking to see “where we were” in regard to attendance. Yesterday was no exception. I saw the numbers. Not bad, but I thought they could be better (rarely do we pastors think the numbers are good enough!). The gears in my brain began to rotate as I wondered about how things were going at the church. Then, later, God slapped me upside my head, as we say in Texas.

It was at lunch that it happened. I received an email from someone who that day needed what God had to offer. They took time to send me a note to let me know how God ministered to them. SLAP. They didn’t even wait a few hours before they let me know how that time of worship at our church had touched their life. SLAP SLAP. They were one person among many (yes, many), and that ONE person felt the love of God at a time when they really needed it. I realized then that it didn’t matter how many were there. God was willing to use our gathering, our time of worship, to speak to that ONE person. And then God reminded me that I only heard from one – there were others who found His love and grace at our church that day, I just didn’t get an email about it. SLAP SLAP SLAP.

It sounds violent, the way God deals with me, but it’s not really. It’s a playful kind of spiritual slap that gets my attention. This time it was a jarring realization that I can be hypocritical and not live what I know to be true. God seems to be saying, “Silly boy, do you not yet get it?”

Ever have one of those times? Does God ever slap you around (in a playful way) and make you realize how dopey and human you can be?

I was really glad for my reminder. I just hope I remember that love tap next week.

Holy high-five to you,


6 responses to “A Spiritual Slap Upside the Head

  1. Too funny! I’m glad that ONE person chose to affirm that God was present and felt for them yesterday. Yay God and yay for Asbury!

  2. from where I sit in the back I noticed some empty seats also, but then remembered the adults and helpers in the other building doing WOW Worship with the kids and thought how awesome that we have so many willing volunteers to help with that ministry.
    I found myself thinking there were a few absentees, but our facebook friends usually tells us who is not attending because of illness or other committments. And I know the next Sunday the numbers may be higher. And I also pray that those who are in attendance are hearing something they need to hear…that they came on that particular day and heard what they needed to hear. And apparently someone did! If we impact just one person, then that is all that matters.

  3. I feel those SLAPS quite often at times. I am very thankful for them. Those slaps remind me to pay attention and focus on what HE wants me to do and not what I WANT to do. Because in the long run, it’s not all about me.

  4. I heard an evangelist talking about when God shows up this week. He shows up when we pray. He shows up when we praise Him. And He shows up when we gather together for Him. This has been on my mind since I heard it and I walked into church Sunday morning in anticipation knowing that God would show up. Do you count God as part of your attendance because He was there?

  5. I am reminded often, especially when I feel like i am overwhelmed and things are not happening fast enough for me or I don’t see the results of my efforts. It’s then that God reminds me that things Are happening but, in HIS time, I just need to continue to seek him….Awesome Sermon by the way.

  6. Great post, Mike. You’ve said it better than I can begin to comment on it, but I just want to give you a High (Slap) Five.

    I especially like the kicker to remember the love tap in the ensuing days and weeks and years.

    God bless.

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