Have you ever wondered what’s the difference between a pastor’s faith and yours? Not the calling part where he or she has been called and you have not. But that difference between the how much they believe in God compared to you. Like I’m sure their calling didn’t come with a whole package containing a lot of faith, plus patience, plus perseverance plus confidence. If the bible is anything to go by, then God might have even called people who least expected and were even least prepared to be full time ministers.
Well, speaking for myself , there are two professions on earth that just fascinate me. And I have mentioned one here The second one is pastor. When I was young, I even went ahead to fantasize marrying a character who is a robber by night and a pastor by day( you can blame the naija movies I used to watch). Anyway, pastors have always intrigued me. I always want to know how their relationships are. With God and their families.
But one thing I have always admired in the pastors I respect, is their faith. And I’m spiritually old enough to know that some things don’t come naturally once you get born again, you work at it. You and God. So I always kept on wondering how they worked at theirs that made it so different from mine.
One key example to show you what I’m talking about is this; memory verses. Our pastor knows lots and lots of verses. I’m sure yours too. Tonight he mentioned one and I saw a leader of the bible study nod in agreement- zile za, I also know that verse. The knowledge of memory verses is something pastors have in common. And I’m talking about the upright pastors who sincerely seek after God’s heart and preach the true gospel with no distortion.
As a christian, how many verses do you know? Or are you going to tell me that its because its a full time ministry for the pastor so he has to know the verses while we as the flock don’t? Or did you assume that they have been given more grace than we have when it comes to “Godly” things?
Today I found one answer as to why that gap of faith exists. On another note, i’m not saying that our faiths should be the same. But I would like to have that inner fire that pastors seem to have.
Commitment. Looking at your life right now, what things are you committed to? For me, my studies take almost the whole prize. And no, I don’t study or go to class because I have to. I sleep knowing that tomorrow I’ll go to all my classes. I could chose not to and fail my exams ( I’m sure you know someone who made that choice). But I don’t. Sincerely speaking, I don’t think there is anything else I’m committed to that seriously.
Commitment is being bound emotionally or intellectually to a course of action or to another person. It means you will plan ahead or before on how to go about it. That you will put in place structures to ensure that you stay true to your chosen choice of action or person. Commitment reeks of seriousness. Its not something you take up today and drop tomorrow. A commitment is not like a promise. Its something you decide to do come rain come sunshine. It becomes the center while everything goes to the periphery.
Are you committed to God and His work? Like yes you are born again, and you are making progress spiritually, but are you committed to your God? Like you know come troubles come wealth, you and God are stuck together? Zile za kufa driver kufa conductor, wewe na Mungu are forever. Do you sleep knowing that tomorrow I’ll have an hour(or however long your devotion with God is) with God? Do you tick the calendar knowing that on that weekend form ni ya church or a social justice mission ? Or do we leave it to nature?
As Pastor Steve was speaking about something else entirely, it hit me that he is committed to God. Very committed. And that commitment of his made him go through the bible intentionally while purposely putting to memory the verses he reads. Its not faith. I don’t think God has blessed him with extra-human powers. Or a bigger brain. I think, he has bound himself emotionally and intellectuly to God’s work.
Personally i thought that if I prayed more and got this ‘feeling’ in me, that I would get the psyche to read God’s word. By this feeling I mean that spiritual feeling you get when you go for a worship session and surrender everything to God. I thought that when I became more mature spiritually some of these things like fasting would come easily to me. Like automatically I would want and feel like attending Tuesday prayers, bible studies and worship session. I thought that maybe I would be more confident in serving God then.
But I was wrong. To even grow spiritually, I have to purpose to talk to God when I feel like it or not. When things are good or not. When I don’t understand Him or when I don’t think He understands me. It means I have to read the bible and reread it and read it all over again. And that means figuring out even how that reading of the bible is going to happen. It means I will have to attend those church meetings that I know build me when I feel like it or not. When my friends are coming or even when they are not.
And that above is what we call commitment. That whether sunshine or rain, you will do God’s work and His will. And some of these things that I thought requires the Holy Spirit-feeling in you to do them, actually just require your will. They just need you decide that whether its your life in line, you will never bribe anyone. That even on your busiest day on earth, you will set aside time for God. That even when you are a president, you will serve God.
Maybe some of this things that we want God to come help us in, are problems in the first place, because we are not committed at all in solving them. For example, I have prayed to God to help me with memory verses, but thinking about it, I have never been committed to memorizing them. Yet I know almost all definitions of all scientific terms in my course. So I can’t really say that I’m not good at keeping things in my head.
I want to say God deserves better from me. But being as selfish, I will also say I deserve a better deal than the one I’m giving myself. I mean, those other things that I dedicate myself to(albeit unintentionally at times) how are they benefitting me? Because by the end of the day, I’ll have to do a cost-benefit analysis in my head. Why? Because commitment requires sacrifice. Its not easy. Or simple. But it’s doable. And its not something you jump in expecting immediate returns either.
If I read for my exams, chances are that I will pass. If you commit yourself to serving God, the chances are on what? These are questions you’ll have to ask yourself before committing your time and effort to God. Why are you serving God in the first place? Why do you need to set aside adequate time talk to Him and read His word? Why do you need to prioritize fellowships with other believers? Why do you wake up on Sunday to go to church? And how has all the above helped you in your life?
Because serving God is not like a business or school. It does not even obey earthly principles. Where time equals money or as we say, time is money. I don’t think pastors get paid proportionally to the time they give God. The reward of serving God is not on earthly currency. As Jesus said, its called putting your treasure where moths and rust cannot destroy. Are you ready for that? Making a commitment that every single day of your life, you will read the bible and pray. Every single day. Regardless of how life takes you. And while at it knowing that your reward is not on earth, or at least in earthly measurements of a reward.
I’ve been challenged a lot on this. It has made me see how weird or lazy I might have come across to God with some prayer requests. It has made me realize how I unknowingly commit myself to things that are of no or little assistance to me while neglecting others or leaving them to take care of themselves. I also now understand why some Christians and especially pastors always seem to have more spiritual fire than I do. It’s not even about the spirit or fire but everything to do with what they have committed themselves to doing.
Now, I’m not saying that the Holy Spirit isn’t needed to help us in our spiritual lives. I’m saying that instead of asking Him to help you memorize verses, commit yourself to memorizing one every week and now ask the Holy Spirit to help you in your commitment. I once read somewhere that we usually go to God asking Him to bless us the way He wants( if its through a business or employment, just what He wishes), yet God tells us to take our plans to Him. So see, God expects you to have a plan or something you are commiting yourself to doing. He gave us brains and on top of that told us to ask for wisdom which is free apparently. There is also a verse in psalms about the builders building in vain or the watchmen watching in vain if God is not there with them. You notice that this people’s mistake is not building but doing it without God.
My prayer tonight is that I invite God into the house I’m building and that I take my plans to Him. This means committing myself to building the house that my spiritual life needs . Not having a kaplot lying somewhere while saying that I’m waiting for the Lord, saa hizo God is also waiting for my plan to bless it.
Think about commitment. What are the things you do come rain come sunshine? Are you committed to God and everything to do with Him? If yes, may the Lord build that house with you. If no, what are you waiting for? Call that committee in your head asap.