The secret of faithfulness is love. You cannot lead God’s people according to His exact pattern (which means you do not claim any glory for yourself but you give it all to Him) except you are faithful – and it is impossible to be faithful (or loyal) except we truly love God.
I have even found out from the Bible that the key to living a genuinely godly life where one deliberately and consciously avoid sin (as if it is a plague) is hinged basically on the fact that we do not want to “hurt” God who dearly loves us.
Now, this is the question. Pastor, do you REALLY love God? I mean really, really deep down, do you love God?
“He saith to him again the second time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” John 21:16
Do you notice that Jesus “…saith unto him THE SECOND TIME…” That implies that this issue is not a once and for all thing. It is a question the Master will be asking us again and again, in every level we attain, all through our pilgrim’s journey.
To every message you preach, to every song that you sing, as long as people are blessed and they now begin to set you on a platform and call you all manner of names, will you be faithful so as not to prove the Lord wrong that you are worthy of trust? Will you choose to personally empty yourself and permit the glory to be accorded to thy Lord, and Him only?
“…He said unto him again the second time, Simon son of Jonas…”
The Master does not need anybody to introduce any of us his stewards to Him. He knows us both while we are on the pulpit and while we are in our bedroom. This has been what became the undoing of many brethren. They ignorantly forget that the Master knows them in secret. So when they come to the public and begin to proclaim His name to His people, He will not back them (although people may “fall” under the anointing and give some testimony here and there – but the Master’s seal will not be there).
And what is the Master’s seal? How do we know that of a truth the man who preached to us is a true and genuine carrier of the life of God? Very simple. It is all in scripture. Uninspired preaching or teaching leaves people either unnecessarily excited or unnecessarily condemned without touching their soul (to the point that they personally choose to draw closer to God).
A Holy Spirit inspired ministration (either in word or songs) will necessarily edify God’s people. It will reprove, correct and instruct God’s people in righteousness. The word of God will NEVER leave you intact – no, what follows God’s word is a change.
The word is a hammer. It will “hammer” you and I into God’s desired shape. It is a fire, it will burn off every dross that is now “glossy” in our lives.
So, I wonder in dismay when people laugh or clap for the preacher after he has finished delivering his sermon. They seem to be saying, “Well, you’re an eloquent speaker who understands the exegesis of the word – but thank you for leaving us intact!” But see what happened when men of old preached:
“Peter’s words convicted them deeply, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Acts 2:37
“And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?” Luke 3:10
You will notice that the question the different audiences asked both Peter and John the Baptist is the same. You can compare this to the question that Paul asked the Lord Jesus when he got converted (Acts 9:6) and you will see that it is the same thing.
The implication is that if Christ Himself had preached to the audiences that listened to John and Peter, He would have preached the same thing.
“…Lovest thou Me? …Then He said unto him, feed my sheep.” v16 (KJV)
Brother, sister, you can see that what qualifies us to serve God’s people is our love for the Master Himself. Anyone who doesn’t love the Master first and foremost cannot lead His people.
In fact, you will begin to think they are “your own people” because you will not understand that He said “…feed MY sheep…” You will want to possess God’s heritage over whom He made you overseer.
See what Brother Paul said,: “We work together as partners (i.e. Paul and Apollos) who belong to God. You are God’s field, God’s building – NOT OURS.” 1 Corinthians 3:9 (NLT)
See that? It takes a man who truly loves God to understand that God’s heritage is not his own personal property. The man who is faithful to God alone will understand that the brethren are not “his own” loyalists and therefore, he will not relate with them as such.
The Lord is personally dragging you and I aside from our “Martha engagements” and He is solemnly asking,
“Brother A, Sister B, do you truly and deeply love Me? Am I the reason you are involved in this spiritual assignment or are you in it to grab spoils for thyself?
If you do not love Me supremely above every other thing, I cannot entrust the leadership of my people into thy hand – for you will treat them just the same way you treat Me. Do you truly love me?”