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When Will Jesus Be Enough? by Bob Roberts

One Monday morning a year into our church's tumultuous move into the renovated shopping center, I got up early to pray in the pasture behind my house (not too unusual in Texas). I was depressed about our unexpected decline. I had heard Rick Warren say that pastors should go somewhere they could plant their lives. Thom Wolf had also noted that in the early church "the pastors stayed and the politicians moved... if we wanted to change our culture, then we pastors were going to have to stay." I'd made that commitment public many times. It's a real fun thing to stay when things are going your way, but when they're headed south, well that's another story.

Things at this time were horrible and I wanted to leave. In fact, the only thing keeping me there was my public announcement that I would stay. I had made that statement years earlier, and I always restated it in the New Members Class. My own word had trapped me! Had I not made it publicly, maybe I would have lied to myself and left.

Bargaining with God

And it wasn't as if I hadn't had the opportunity to leave. I listed all the churches and positions I had turned down for Him in order to be faithful to staying at the church. I was half-praying and half-reminding God of my track record. I was in essence telling God how I had held up my end of the bargain and He needed to hold up His. I told God what a good deal He had in me. I had never been unfaithful to my wife (like pastors I knew) or taken money from the offering plate (like stories I'd heard).

I began to think, "If we had just had another 100 people yesterday I wouldn't be depressed. Why not just another 100 people, God?" I felt so foolish and immature, and I fell on my knees and began to weep. Suddenly, a question came into my mind that has never let me go to this day. God often speaks to me in questions, and the question He posed to me on that day was this, "Bob, when will Jesus be enough for you?"

Why Wasn't I Content?

For the first time in my life, I had to admit that Jesus wasn't enough. I loved Him, and wanted to serve Him, but I was too tied up with the ministry and not enough with Jesus. I was more interested in the "Kingdom of Bob" than the "Kingdom of God". After that initial query, a torrent of other questions flooded my mind. Why wasn't I content? I had the Holy Spirit, the Word of God; I had experienced salvation and joy; I had a beautiful family, a nice place to live. Nothing was really wrong-I just was not as successful as I thought I should be. Why didn't I have the peace I was promising all those people who came to hear me speak? What if this was as good as it gets? Why couldn't I be content? Something was wrong.

I realized how much my ego was tied to my personal success. If Jesus was enough, I had to get over my empire and focus on His Kingdom. That day began an interactive love relationship with Christ that has grown into a communion between my heart and His.

Adapted from Transformation: How Glocal Churches Transform Lives and the World, by Bob Roberts, Jr., from Zondervan Publishers. © 2005. Used by permission.

 

Check out Bob's Blog - Glocal.net
Bob Tweets @bobrobertsjr


See also the articles:
How does Jesus Become Enough? - Bob Roberts
Risky or Risking Faith? - Bob Roberts
Missional vs. Traditional by Katie Driver

Constantine & the Institutionalization of the Church
How Jesus Sees the Church | Video


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