Saturday, December 17, 2005

In Charge

I am not "in charge" anymore. For the first time in over 25 years I am no longer the "Senior Pastor". Some days, like today,
it strikes me powerfully that I am not "in charge". When I am struck by this thought it makes me aware of one of life's greatest discoveries. We are never really "in charge." We were not meant to be. We are branches and branches are not "in charge". Managing our lives or the lives of others is truly an illusion.

I rememeber as our children became teenagers this same truth began to take root in my mind. I remember thinking as they revealed their own ideas and will "I am not 'in charge' of these kids anymore!" Each day that passed I was less and less in control of them. Was I ever really in control of them? Was being in control of them what God intended? Being in love with them and being there for them was what God intended. Being in charge of them ended as soon as they realized I was not "in charge" of them. Loving them and being there for them need never end. Thank God it has not.

As a pastor I was not to be "in charge" of anyone. As a pastor I was to be "in love" with them. It is one thing to no longer be "in charge." It is another thing to no longer be "in love."

Thank God I am still in love with my children and they are in love with me. Thank God I am still in love with those I have loved and those who truly loved me still do.

I think we only come to know who we really are when we let go of things and still find we are whole and well. Over the years as I have let go of being "in charge", I have found I don't want to be "in charge" of what I love. I want to be there for them and I want them to be there for me. What I want is oneness not control.

Perhaps this is why the greatest in the kingdom is not the one "in charge" but the one who serves. Being there for those I love is something I do not have to give up along with my "in charge" title of Senior Pastor.

How can I miss being "in charge" when I really never was "in charge"? I can still love those I have loved and be there for them in hundreds of small, yet significant ways. I still have much to learn about the Kingdom and its values. It is a good thing God loves me and is there for me as I let go of things a little at a time. It is a good thing the way God influences me is by loving and being there for me. It is His love that has captured me and holds me in his joy. Love doesn't need control.

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