When they had finished eating, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.” — John 21:15
At this point in time, Peter felt he was unworthy to serve the risen Lord. Within a very short period of time, he had gone from boasting about his loyalty and love for Jesus (Matthew 26:33), to following Him at a distance (Matthew 26:58), to denying Him (Matthew 26:72). Therefore, when Jesus is resurrected from the dead, Peter feels like he can’t serve Jesus. Jesus restores Peter and gets him back in the game.
It is so easy to feel like something you’ve done disqualifies you from service. On the surface, I haven’t exactly lived what most church people would consider the perfect week. I have been what many in the church world call “worldly.” Last Wednesday, I revisited my teenage years and went to Atlanta to see Poison and Def Leppard . . . nostalgia at its finest. I have to admit that it was pretty electrifying. Then, I ditched my pastoral post to go play in a Scrabble tournament in Asheville. Once again, it was pretty sweet because it was the first tournament that I placed first in my division. Now that I sit here trying to type this WMD, I’m pretty sure the devil is doing me just like he did Peter back in the day. The whispers are constant, “Think about where you’ve been and what you’ve done . . . you are unfit for service.”
At the same time, the word of God speaks to my heart this morning, “Adam do you love me more than these?”
What a question.
Here is the thing: In all of the things I did that could be misconstrued as bad, God was all over me. He never left me and never forsook me. I got to hang out with one of my best friends in the world and talk about God for hours. We spoke of how nice it was to like the concert and not love it like we used to. We just hung out, caught up, and enjoyed each other’s company. Three days later, I went to a different church that does church on Saturday night and got so blessed and refilled with God’s Spirit . . . it was amazing. The very next day, on the way to Asheville to play Scrabble, the Glory of God was all over the place. I just felt Him like crazy.
I think God might have been calling a time out with me. I think being a pastor for these past three years has kind of dehumanized me. I have tried way too hard to put on this air of perfection. I’m going to cut that out. I don’t want to be simply a great rule follower. I know a lot of them. They seem so unhappy and absolutely nobody wants to be like them. I pray that I never forget how much I need Jesus and how much He means to me. It is so strange what He will use sometimes to remind me.
“Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”
*In my best John Fogerty voice*
Put me in coach . . . I’m ready to play.