Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pedigree or Passion?

Simon Peter, when he saw it, fell to his knees before Jesus. “Master, leave. I’m a sinner and can’t handle this holiness. Leave me to myself.”  When they pulled in that catch of fish, awe overwhelmed Simon and everyone with him.  It was the same with James and John, Zebedee’s sons, coworkers with Simon.  Jesus said to Simon, “There is nothing to fear.  From now on you’ll be fishing for men and women.”  They pulled their boats up on the beach, left them, nets and all, and followed him.  Luke 5:8 - 11 (TMSG)
Before Jesus called Peter to follow him in ministry, his occupation was fisherman.  They’d fished all night and came up empty.  Jesus showed up and told them to cast their nets one more time.  When they did what Jesus asked, the nets were so full they started to break from the weight.  Peter was a simple fisherman, but he knew a miracle when he saw it and came unglued at the thought of being in the presence of holiness. He knew his pedigree was too spotted to be near God.

Nobody would've ever expected Marshall Taylor to be a great man of God.  He was a self-proclaimed "redneck" with weird ideas.  He was only 60, but looked 80.  (Hi-rise steelworkers age hard.)  He ate all the wrong foods in all the unhealthy ways imaginable.  He had minimal formal education, and didn't talk or pray in a fancy way.  He was married to a wonderful Christian lady, who was (in Marshall's words)  "...the only one with manners this family will ever have."  Marshall understood, like Peter, his pedigree was pure Mississippi backwater and hardly refined.

I first met Marshall in my last year of seminary, when a little church on the outskirts of New Orleans lost its mind and asked me to be their pastor.  Marshall Taylor was an absolutely earthy, both-feet-on-the-ground country boy, with no apologies; he didn't need any.  He shared his faith in Christ with steelworkers 250 feet off the ground, straddling an I-beam.  He shared Christ with children playing ball in the street. 

Marshall was too humble to be the “boss” of anything, but everyone looked to him for leadership.  I learned to lean on Marshall’s wisdom also.  Looking back I realize that Marshall was actually that church’s pastor.  I was the one with the “book knowin’” (as Marshall called it), but he knew the people and the community.  I led worship services, preached sermons and visited hospitals.  But seldom did I visit a hospital room where Marshall hadn’t already been there.  The man had a heart for people and the things of God.

And that’s the point – to be a person who loves and serves God we don’t need a pedigree that will fill out a resume’, rather cultivate a passion for souls. 

God can use you, but He won't do it against your will, or your laziness.  All you need is a heart for God.

No comments:

Post a Comment