“When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other” (Ecclesiastes 7:14).
This scripture reminds me that reality will often oppose desire. This is an irony that points to a popular misconception within Christianity. This misconception sounds something like this: serve God and good things will come your way. When bad times come, God has forsaken you. But not according to King Solomon.
I have learned more about the mercy and comfort of the Lord in painful times than I have in good times. Yes, I like to feel good. Yes, I like to receive good things and good experiences. But the disappointing, painful times have driven my “roots” deep into the “soil” of my soul. God has been a constant reality in good times as well as bad, but more dramatically present in bad.
This irony is played out in church when a pastor, or another church leader, believes they are somehow more important than the people they seemingly serve. Many a good man/woman in churches around the world has fallen from their self-conceived throne to a humbling end of power. I believe that spiritual leaders get away with this behavior because parishioners do not hold their leaders accountable.
A healthy leader is always willingly accountable to someone. That is what I like about our church. The pastors are not lone ducks. They are accountable to other church leaders, as well as church members. They walk with us, not ahead of us. They are well aware of their imperfections. They never take a superior position. They eat with us and fellowship with us and laugh with us, and cry with us.
I have spent enough years in churches to know the difference between a pastor-dominated pastor church and a church that focuses on Jesus Christ.
I choose Jesus!