We use the term battle for a lot of things in our culture and many times it is overused. However, I find that it is often a battle against he enemy when pastors try to lead their churches toward a healthy culture of generosity. Satan does not take that lying down. He will do anything to keep God’s people from being generous. Sometimes pastors can see the battle but most of the time they can’t.
As I was preparing for my run today on the beach (yes, I am at the beach again!) I chose to run into the sun and into the wind. I figured I would get the tough stuff out of the way on the front end of the run. As I was running it was very apparent to me what was causing me resistance and a little discomfort. The sun was in my face but behind some clouds and the breeze was steady and a bit tough. I made it to my halfway point, walked for a few minutes to catch my breath and turned around for the second half of the run with the sun and wind at my back. It should be easier right?
My legs felt great as I started back but several minutes in I realized that it was HOT and I didn’t have much ‘wind aided’ running going on. I stopped and turned around to look at the sun and there was not a cloud in the sky and I didn’t feel much breeze in my face. What I thought was going to or should happen was not happening.
This is the way I feel a lot of pastors feel when they are leading their churches toward a healthier culture of generosity. They get started on the course and feel confident about the elements around them and things are going well. Then unknowingly things change. The course we were on now is not the right course. The wind that we thought was at our back is now gone or in our face. The sun we counted on to shine brightly is now behind the clouds.
The enemy creeps in and convinces us that it is our fault that things have changed. He tries to convince us we do not know what we are doing. He tries to talk us into self doubt and self criticism. These are powerful tools of the enemy.
My advice is to do what I did today on my run. Acknowledge things have changed. Maybe stop and catch your breath and re-group. Plot the next steps in your course. Start running again. God will honor this type of commitment and intentional efforts to move towards him.
I made it to the end of my run this morning. I was hurting pretty badly. My lungs hurt. My legs felt like lead pipes. I was uncomfortably hot. Then I was rewarded for my efforts with a swim in the ocean. I felt like God was pleased with my efforts this morning. I struggled, but I didn’t quit.
Pastors, when you are struggling to stay the course of leading your church toward a healthy culture of generosity. Don’t quit. It is worth the effort and the reward is great. God will honor your efforts.