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,