Andy Hollifield 4-23-17
Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.
John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
I have reached the age, although somewhat prematurely, that I often find myself trying to remember what it was I was doing or why I walked into a room or even losing my train of thought. I have to stop and in my mind retrace my steps. Usually, that will help me remember what I was doing or thinking or going to do. I think that we as Christians, and especially those of us that have been saved a lot of years, have a tendency to forget what this Christian life is all about. We also sometimes forget that we were once lost sinners too. We are prone to get wrapped up in our ideas and isms and schisms and, if we aren’t careful, we will try to pass our ideas and personal convictions off as gospel. We sometimes try to impose a list of do’s and don’ts on new converts and church folk in general often at the expense of forgetting what the main thing is. Now, don’t misunderstand me, I believe you need to live right and anyone should be able to tell that you are a Christian either by your countenance or by talking with you for just a few minutes. I also believe that we sometimes expect folks to be meat eaters when they are still on the milk as the apostle Paul once put it. There is a saying I picked up somewhere that I use quite often; you don’t clean fish until you catch them. If we will catch them, God will do the cleaning. The main thing is what Jesus said in Luke 19:10 that I mentioned earlier. Certainly if Jesus personal mission was to save the lost, shouldn’t we be trying to get the lost to him?
Do you realize that Jesus called dirty people to him? He called laborers. He said in Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Laborers and those with heavy loads. He didn’t tell them they had to look a certain way but he just said “come”. Everywhere that you find Jesus in the bible, you will find a bunch of outcasts, deplorable, down and outers, sick, and all the lowest echelon of society. Not the typical crowd that we try to get into our churches but they are the exact crowd that Jesus came for.
I guess when it comes to being non-typical I can relate to that. My ministry has never been typical as far as what people would have expected. God has allowed me to be a fill in for most of my 31 years of preaching. In times past, almost every pastor I knew relied on me to fill in for them if they were sick or on vacation or just needed a day away. My pastor always told everyone that I was everybody’s pinch hitter. They called me when they were in a pinch and some still do. I spent a couple of years pastoring, filled in as supply pastor a few times, had a radio broadcast, done a nursing home ministry for years, and have wound up writing songs and articles, running a food ministry, working with domestic violence and crisis pregnancy centers and other relief agencies and still sing in nursing homes. I have made trips to the mission field, done disaster relief, and been a person that tries to find stuff that various ministries might have need of. That is along with still preaching every opportunity I get. I said all of that to say this; my ministry has been nothing like I thought it would be and by no means typical. I thank God for every unusual turn he has taken me on but the fact is that the main thing is still the main thing; getting folks to Jesus. That is what it is all about. It is not about us at all. It would do us well to remember that those same folks that need Jesus so bad in our eyes, are only what we used to be. But for the grace of God, there go I.
The main thing is not what all we have done or even what we think of anything but it is simply meeting people where they are at and getting them to God. It is all about the forgiveness that Jesus provided by way of the cross for each of us. We sometimes forget that once upon a time, people looked at us and thought how pitiful. It is easy at times to “be weary in well doing” and want to slack up or step aside and let someone else do it. Moses probably wanted to take his stuff and cut out a few times but he stuck it out and delivered a nation. I am sure Noah probably quit at least once every day. I am sure that David probably thought about the fact that he had been anointed King as a young man but yet was still the target of Saul’s rage.
In closing, my point is this; Keep the main thing the main thing. If we will do that, God will honor our efforts. So as you go throughout your week, remember to focus on God and just take Christ to someone. God will do the saving if we just get them to him. A young preacher named William Booth had just finished seminary in London and was awaiting his appointment to a church. When his turn came, he asked to be assigned to the streets of London. Of course the powers that be were outraged that he would even ask such a thing and refused his request. His wife stood up and shouted that she would go with him to the streets of London. Years later, as his body lay in state following his death, over 10,000 people reportedly filed past his casket. Folks that he had went and took Jesus to. He went on to be the founder of the Salvation Army. William Booth is definitely an example of someone who kept the main thing the main thing. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!