"John (name changed), could you come up and pray for the service tonight before we get started?" John stood up and walked reverently up to the stage... He took the microphone and bowed his head. Thus began a prayer of great emotion and beautiful platitudes. "Lord Jesus you hung on that cross for hours and hours! For us! We love you Lord!" Girls watched and blushed. People whispered.
As Many of you may know, my dad was a youth pastor for six years. John would attend often. The leadership was in awe of him. I remember at one youth rally a youth pastor from another church said on stage, "Do you guys know John? If only I could go back and be where he is spiritually at that age." I think John was in the room at the time but I can't remember for sure.
John's prayer ended, "In your name, Amen!" He handed off the mic and left the stage. Just in front of me were two girls... very popular in the youth group. John began his approach to returned to his seat next to them. As he came close, they giggled... he gave a coy smile and took his seat... was that a wink? Did no one see that?
I wonder. Did the leadership know about these little quirks that John had? It just so happened in those years that I was a big Supertones fan. John thought they were sellouts... he would let me know it too. I'm hard pressed to ever remember him having a good thing to say about the music I liked. He fancied himself an expert in this area. I remember when he stayed at my house once... we played cards. I remember feeling like a loser by the end of the night because of his comments... interesting.
Fast forward a few years. I've been overseas and back... John has gone to Bible school. The very Bible school I would go to a few years after him. Why wouldn't he? He was obviously called to spiritual leadership. He'd been groomed for it since the beginning... I see him after he has graduated... fiance under his arm. I walk up to him and say, "Hey man, long time no see!" He looks at me with an odd expression. "I can't remember..." I say, "Did you go here for one year?"
"No, I came here for three." He says with a tone that seems to say, "Duh, everyone knows that... except you obviously"
Fast forward again. I am now in Bible school. Leadership class has begun and it is my turn to give a presentation. I've prepared for long hours. Just what might be on my mind after three years of Bible school? Could it be the wonders of the glory of God? Could it be to forget myself and help my classmates get to know our Lord better? Nah, try impressing those girls scattered throughout the room. Try making a good impression on the teachers.
A girl walks up to me after class, "Wow Eric! You're getting so good at this!" What does my mind do? Does it stop and reflect on how thankful I should be that God would bother to use me? Nah, try getting a little prideful. Try looking forward to some pats on the back in the cafeteria. Try waiting for the teacher to give me a good grade and a good reference.
Gotta love the way pride works. Hate it in others and you can be sure that you have it. Get hurt by it and you'll hurt people with it. How on earth are we supposed to be a people who serve God with everything before men and then not hope to get noticed? How can one wish to submit to authority without groping for their constant approval?
God help us...