Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Like many of you, I like a good story. I like romance and intrigue, suspense and believable dialog, just for starters. But, aside from my fictional interests, I have a greater passion for Truth. Which brings me to scripture. Unlike other books, the Christian bible seems to have endless layers. It's content spans throughout all time, even to that which has not been. No earthly author has yet to write a book that is it's equal.
How is it that I can read a passage and feel like I know it, only to one day read it again and discover something new? This phenomenon is humbling for me. God through the years has condescended to teach my slow-to-comprehend mind, allowing me the time to let a passage simmer until suddenly my eyes are opened. If you could see the party that takes place in my spirit when this happens you would put on a hat and celebrate with me. But the amazing thing is, He allows me to revisit the same passage later on and He shows me more!
Knowing this helps me to listen to a sermon in peace even when the pastor takes it in a direction that might be different than I would have gone, because I know that what a Godly pastor shares in any given sermon is just a portion of the story.
Some of you know that my husband became a pastor about four years ago after having taught in the public school system for seventeen years. It was a big leap for us. And I confess it was a VERY big leap for me. I've never really been a fan of church and I've always had a difficult time with sermons. The reason is that I wanted sermons to be tidy, wrapped up, inclusive of all pertinent details so as not to give way to misunderstanding should any young or non believer be listening. My compulsion to round out the theology of every sermon was exhausting and rather than feeling blessed by the pastor's knowledge I felt like I'd been in a battle every time I went to church. But the fact is, sermons are just a portion of the story! It's such a great story that it takes time to do it justice in it's telling and not everything can be covered in it's entirety in every sermon. So we lay the foundation of faith and build on Christ...not forgetting Christ as we build.
It's true that I have an easier time listening to my pastor husband. It's likely because I can grill him after the service. (Ha!) Knowing that this particular pastor is approachable and that I won't be labeled a rebellious woman for questioning his sermon sure does afford me a measure of confidence. But what about everyone else? There may be some who have a difficult time listening to my Paul as he takes a passage of scripture and draws out things God has shown him. I have a lot of grace for those who struggle in this way because I can relate very well.
What I can offer to those who deal with these matters is a reminder; My Paul, or any other pastor can only share a portion of the story during one sermon....or even several. The bible being as deep as it is can not be summed up or laid out in tidy fashion so as to satisfy every listening ear. Unlike Paul Harvey, who gives "The Rest of the Story", my Paul is only capable of giving a portion of the story. My prayer is that we will continue to listen and receive God's word with patience, allowing for Him to teach us through men like my Paul, who most often speak with fear and trembling, knowing Whom they represent.