Last year, with one second left in the national championships football game, the Clemson Tigers pulled out a dramatic victory against Alabama. It was a great night to live in the Palmetto State.
This year, due to a tremendous overtime pass, Alabama barely defeated the Georgia Bulldogs. Once again, Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are back on top.
And why did Clemson win last year and Alabama win this year? What is the common denominator between these two championship programs?
The answer is “Joe Franks.” That’s right, I am the one responsible. Last year, I lived about 40 miles from Clemson, and this year I live about 40 miles from Tuscaloosa. It seems that wherever I dwell, victory is sure to follow. I’m the man!
Some of you are wondering what narcissistic drug your friend is smoking? You say, “Joe, what’s wrong with you? What are you thinking? What kind of a moron takes responsibility for merely dwelling in the locale where success is enjoyed?” You are right; it is absolutely ludicrous for me to take credit for that work accomplished by Dabo and Deshaun or Nick and Tua.
However, how often do we tend take the credit for success realized in evangelism, discipleship, biblical counseling, or preaching?
And how often do we glorify and laud the minister or evangelist who seems to be enjoying a special season of ecclesiastical profitability?
And how often do church leaders and congregants dishonor their current shepherd while assuming a change of ministers will automatically result in a change of results?
Friends, this is ludicrous. It is moronic for us to take or give credit to any man for the glorious work performed by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit … The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes ….” (John 3:6-8)
It is the Lord who does all the work. It is the Lord who changes depraved hearts, opens blind eyes, unclogs stopped ears, and enlightens troubled minds. It is the Lord who snatches souls from hell, brings the dead back to life, brings the prodigals back home, and intensified the preached Word. God is the One who wins the victory, and we fans are just privileged to be found in close proximity.
Ministers, let us cease our unfounded arrogance.
Congregants, let us forsake our unfounded adulation.
Church leaders, let us quit evaluating ministers as Athletic Directors and fans evaluate their coaches. It is folly to think a new leader at the helm means revival is at hand.
Instead, let us give all praise and glory for ecclesiastical success to the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.
Then, let us be wisely pragmatic and pray-pray-pray that the Lord of the Harvest might do great work in close proximity to us and our families.