Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Does What Breaks Jesus’s Heart Break Your Heart?

I am listening again to an old talk by Nelson Searcy and Ron Sylvia called “Am I Called to Be a Church Planter?” They are energetic, funny, and share some good content. But listening to their advice this morning reminded me of a question that I heard a presenter ask many years ago (I think it was Bob Logan): “Does what breaks Jesus’s heart break your heart?”

Your answer to that question is far more important than you can imagine. It’s more important than any other factor in your ministry. You might have strong financial resources (wouldn’t that be nice?); you might have a cutting-edge ministry plan; you might be surrounded by a team of highly-talented leaders, a strong core of people, and the most brilliant ministry coach on the planet. But if your answer to this question is No -- or it is ambiguous -- you will fail. Like a gerbil on a wheel, you will run as hard as you can, but all that you’ll produce is a blur of motion and a squeaky wheel.

Does what breaks Jesus’s heart break your heart?

Start with yourself. Examine your heart; tell the truth. Then ponder the question with your team. Put your other agenda items on pause for a day or a week, and list on the flip chart the things that break His heart. Then be honest about your own. You may already stay awake at night interceding for someone who is far from God or begging God to show you how to honor Him. Or maybe you sort of care, but you never get all that amped up about whether people around you will spend eternity in heaven or hell.

Once you’ve done the truth-telling to yourself and to your team, lay your heart open before God and ask Him to fully align your heart with His. He loves to answer this prayer. It’s a dangerous prayer because He always says Yes. Don’t ask Him if you don’t mean it. You might do this together as a team, or in the quietness of your private time with God. But do it. And do it often.

Suddenly everything looks different. You care more deeply about the next person. You find that you can’t pretend that the under-resourced don’t exist or that they aren’t your concern. It dawns on you that the most important thing in life is not your own comfort or reputation or prosperity. You move away from “What’s the minimum I can invest?” and instead you live unselfishly -- in community -- as if people’s lives depend on your obedience to the call. 

Wow, that’s a high bar! But that’s what Jesus did. And He made a wild and ridiculous prediction that His followers would do greater things than He had done. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these” (John 14:12).

I’m in. I’m willing to give it a try. How about you?

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