Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Spreading dung: The lost art of mentor-ship.

Luke 13:6-9

King James Version (KJV)
He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

Matthew 3:8
Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

John 15:16
Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Galatians 5:22-23

King James Version (KJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

We live in a very strange time. Saints complain about their pastors and preachers. Pastors and preachers complain about their saints. Everybody complains about everybody. 

We "go to church" to "have church".  But, the world wonders "Will the real church please stand up?" (Please see my blog post from  8-14-11)

Why are there so many shallow Christians in the world? Why are not the fruits of spirit shown openly to the world? Why are we not having revival? Why are so may saints- even some that have been "in the way" for 50 years- still spiritual babes and not spiritual adults? 

They want milk. They want to be patted on the back and spiritually burped. They want to be told how beautiful they are and how loved they are, but have seemingly no desire to dress themselves and clean up their own messes. Why?

I've wondered this and prayed about it for years. The other day, I opened the word and, as it seems to when the Lord wishes to tell me something, a section of scripture leaped off the page at me. Read Luke 13: 6-9 above. anything jump out at you? There's a wealth of wisdom in those few short verses. 

First, for the saint (all preachers/pastors are supposed to be saints first of all), if your life seems full of dung (mess), perhaps the Lord is trying to fertilize your life so that you can bring forth fruit.

I want you to notice, though, that the Lord goes to "the dresser of his vineyard" and tells him to cut down the unfruitful tree. Who is the dresser of the Lord's vineyard? THE MINISTRY! Now, before you go off half cocked and try to really tell those rotten saints a thing or two, please notice the response of the dresser.

"And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down."

This is reminiscent, in a way, of a couple of verses in the Old Testament: 

Isaiah 41:28
For I beheld, and there was no man; even among them, and there was no counsellor, that, when I asked of them, could answer a word.

Amos 8:11
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the wordof the LORD:

We live in a time where there are more church buildings and more congregations of "Christians" than ever before in all of history. Yet, the spiritual state of the majority of the world is about as bad as that of Sodom and Gomorrah! How can this be? 

We, as preachers of the Gospel MUST be honest and repent! If there is a finger to be pointed, it is not at the saints, the government, and certainly not at God. It is to be pointed at us!  

We have fallen into the traps the devil has laid before us. We try to build large congregations and bigger and better buildings. We build large radio/TV ministries and increase our exposure to sell more books. All this is done under the guise of a bigger platform in order to "get out the word." Yet, we water down the word, to attract more people. Is this right? 

The truth is that it is done to build our ego's and line our own pockets! We, if we are successful, have large organizations, homes, nice cars, clothes, and cars. But, what is the spiritual state of our hearers? 

While we are busily telling them about how much the Lord loves them and how he wants to bless them, they are not growing in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior- as Peter prayed they would!
We tell them to give money to "support the ministry of the Gospel", but we are not really doing the ministry we are called to do. 

Real ministry is NOT standing above them and giving them religious platitudes. Our ministry is to get down and dirty with them in their lives. Notice again what the dresser tells the Lord: 

"And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:"

He offered to dig about the tree and fertilize it. 

This requires getting your hands dirty. This requires getting involved in their lives as people. It requires digging about in their lives, giving them the word, and fertilizing it. In other word (in the worlds vernacular), we are to "give them crap!"

This is not a relationship of a hug, a few well spoken words, and a handshake- now watch me speak next service. This is a relationship of, "let's get together and break bread." 

It is doing something that Jesus did and his disciples (the Apostles) did: MENTORING them! 

It is allowing them into your life and getting involved in theirs. It is eating with them, loving them, hanging out with them, rejoicing with them in their victories and crying and praying with them in their falls. We are to help them stand up again!  

There is a false teaching that most ministers are taught: "Don't get too friendly with the saints." This is a lie from the pit of hell! Jesus got personally involved in the lives of the Apostles. The Apostles got personally involved in the lives of those they ministered to. And the legacy was passed from person to person. This is what the scripture means in Ephesians 4:11-13:

Ephesians 4:11-13

King James Version (KJV)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

WE help to perfect them, by mentoring and teaching them. We get personally involved in their lives. Then, as they grow, they begin to mentor others. THIS is the work of the ministry. THIS edifies (grows) the body of Christ. It will eventually bring us all into the unity of THE faith.

So, preachers, come down off your platforms (and high horses) and get personal with the saints! True ministry requires prayer and study, but it also requires friendship, love, and a willingness to serve them personally. 

Faith is more than belief. It's an action word.

Ministry is more than a position, it is a call to mentor. 

It's time to roll up our sleeves, till the garden, and spread a little dung!