I sat in a small Bible study where the discussion turned to a tearful time of memories about the closing of the church. One of the ladies shared through her sobs her first impression of her pastor when he arrived at the church seven years earlier.
“I didn’t like you. No, I mean I really didn’t like you. You didn’t do what pastors are supposed to do. You weren’t what I was used to in a pastor. You were weak. You were normal. You were just like me.”
After that first Sunday service, Maria called her sister and wondered aloud what to do with the new pastor. She visited a few other churches to figure out what to do with a pastor who readily admitted that he wasn’t perfect, struggled with life like everyone else, and needed Jesus for everything.
A few weeks later she returned to the church with the new pastor. Each week she heard the Scriptures taught verse-by-verse and was told, “isn’t this how God gave us the Bible?” She heard that she was a sinner in desperate need of a Saviour every moment of every day. She learned not to rely on a pastor but to rest in Jesus. She discovered that the power of God was in the gospel of Jesus Christ alone and not her own efforts. After a lifetime of church attendance, she understood the true condition of her sinful soul and the promise of God alone to save her by faith alone in Jesus alone.
Her tears turned to laughter as she described how her life had changed: her words, thinking, politics, loving, giving, and living – everything changed including her opinion of me; I was that pastor!
Christianity is about trusting in Jesus, being fully and solely dependent upon Him. It’s only in our weakness that we find Him strong and only by a knowledge of our sin through the Bible that we find Him a Saviour. Jesus is where living begins.
For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes … for it in the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16, 17).