The quote from the words of Robert Murray M’Cheyne in my last blog were prompted because his words reminded me to some degree of my own situation, and to why I began to blog. As I’ve explained previously, retirement was necessary because of ill health.
The truth is that, many times, I have felt much as he did as he expressed himself, "Today missed some fine opportunities of speaking a word for Christ.”
Half a lifetime ago I also realised the truth of what he says next, also applied to me, even though, prior to this time, I would have vigorously denied the fact, “The Lord saw I would have spoken as much for my own honour as His, and therefore shut my mouth.”
At about the same time as gatherings with preachers in the denominational scene became more frequent, I began to see that many have contracted that same sickness, and had, through educating their congregations, literally become gurus. Travelling to the USA, and perusing the internet, raised the same awareness.
M’Cheynes words became more relevant,” I see a man cannot be a faithful minister, until he preaches Christ for Christ’s sake – until he gives up striving to attract people to himself, and seeks only to attract them to Christ. Lord, give me this!”
When one comes to this part of life’s journey, especially when the health issues create a place of few options for further activity, retirement leaves plenty of time for quiet introspection, revue, and some regret.
As I thought, and prayed, and talked with my wife, I began to see that the “for a season” part of M’Cheynes words also applied to me, hence the blog name Caesura (a pause prior to an emphasis). I’m not too sure about the length of the pause, and maybe, at my age, when the emphasis comes it will be the fanfare accompanying the returning Lord. He knows!
The latter ten years of full time ministry was a new church plant, which began with one man asking for Bible study, which we had in our home, and it grew to be too large for our home. That’s when we made a big mistake (that’s another story).
When it became necessary to retire I became interested to see more of what was happening around the world, and found that, like myself, there were some who had serious thoughts about the shape of what we have traditionally understood as “church”. I began to comment on a couple of sites where my itch was truly scratched.
Much as Alan commented, my first inclination was that maybe I could learn. As I have previously mentioned, age had brought home the reality that even after a lifetime in the church scene, as a novice pastor, and even later, after passing, so-called, middle age and on into the last straight to three score years and ten, the knowledge I had accumulated was infinitesimal in God’s scheme of things. That is true in every Christian life, whatever station in life we occupy.
Joel’s comment also touched on something relevant to my blogging that has come about through reading the blog sites of Christians, and is encompassed in M’Cheynes words, something which brings much grief to my heart and mind; the insistence on legalism, rules/performance oriented forms of Christianity being displayed by some blogs, sermons, and comments. So many Christians, preachers included, are inflicted with “prisoner syndrome”; they don’t know how to live free of bondage.
It’s that very issue which tweaked my interest to delve more into the thoughts of Paul, who commented on my previous article. He, also, obviously understood what grace means. Interestingly, his thoughts concur with my own .
Preaching and teaching from the age of seventeen amongst younger people, then as an elder, then full time pastor, was not something I chose. That course of life came about because of intense inner compulsion to which I had no real choice but to succumb. Only then did I have true peace of mind.
I am still thrilled to have, so long ago, entered this journey in life in the way I would have chosen, if I could have done so. After fifteen years, or so, in the local Body of Christ, it was they who recognised the gifting of God, the pastor affirmed their judgment, and my wife and I both had a strong sense of call.
I believed then, and do so now, that the gifts of God are given to every member of His Family, for the benefit of the whole not the individual. No leader can claim to be any more important than any other member of His people.
Because of my health, I find it difficult to attack the keyboard some times, and, as a result am not a consistent blogger, but maybe I am still able to be used. After all, He hasn’t sacked me.
How should I write? What ought I say? They are questions I have tried to answer. At this time I will continue to just respond to the promptings I have, without any particular agenda other than to be used, I trust, for the glory of my Pastor, the Lord Jesus Christ.
When I meet up with him, I hope M’Cheyne will not be too cross with me for tampering with his words in the context of this blog, “I see a man cannot be a faithful blogger, until he blogs for Christ’s sake – until he gives up striving to attract people to himself, and his opinions, and seeks only to attract them to Christ. Lord, give me this!”