Tucked away in a book-filled study, the shepherd’s desk doesn’t capture imaginations. It’s only six feet by four feet of workspace, but the polished oak top serves as the kitchen for meals from heaven. The shepherd sits working long with careful eyes, observing the sacred text. Making certain the ingredients are handled with precision and care, he labors in the galley of study and prayer until the sermon is ready. The shepherd’s desk, although not spectacular in appearance, undergirds a heavenly work.
Lives are restored around this sacred desk. Tears of sheep and the shepherd alike stain the grains of wood. Some tears are shed in agony and others in joy. From the joys of youth to the pains of death, souls are unburdened and laid bare. Wisdom from God’s Word is shared and received as the pastor counsels his flock. Although many never see the work around the shepherd’s desk, the smile of heaven makes the work worthwhile.
While sipping my morning cup of Joe, I happened to come across a podcast link in my inbox from ThomRainer.com. For those of you who may be living under a rock, Thom S. Rainer is a church leadership and growth guru. He has authored several books on the issues facing the American church.
The podcast which attracted my attention was titled Nine Changes Churches Must Make Or Die. Although this is not an exhaustive list, I can testify of the list’s veracity (especially in the Bible Belt). The twenty or so minute long episode is well worth the listen.
So, why am I typing this post out? Well, #1 smacked the old melon hard. Rainer states, “Churches must stop bemoaning the death of cultural Christianity.” With a quick Google search, one can find that to bemoan is to express discontent or sorrow over something. How many times have I heard that “the world/church sure has changed since I was coming up.” Honestly, things have changed, but my question is what are we going to do about it? Are we to only bellyache about a bygone era? Are we to simply fade away into irrelevance? God forbid!
Could it be the church’s influence is waning because of our whining? Jesus never said, “Go into all the world and whine about our circumstances.” NO! He said, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” Mark 16:15 (ESV). Yes, evangelism may have been easier in the “good ole days,” but difficulty does not diminish our obligation to proclaim the Good News.
What do I suggest? I recommend the church to stop pining away in sorrow and preach the Gospel! Yes, I know it’s easy to focus our attention of the negative or things we do not have. However, if we simply remind ourselves of what we do possess! Quit bemoaning bygone eras of “easy evangelism,” roll up our sleeves, and put our hand to the plow. Finish the task, no matter how hard the soil!