“And without question, the person who has the power to give a blessing is greater than the one who is blessed.” – Hebs. 7:7, NLT
Last Friday evening, Nov. 4, 2016, I was graced with a surprise Pastoral Anniversary Celebration by the Covenant Disciples of The International Good News Fellowship, Inc – the church I have been granted the honor of planting and subsequently shepherding along with my wife, Pastor Patricia K Butler. This was the first time in the 16 year history of our church that this kind of celebration took place. Let me cut to the chase. The reason it took so long was because primarily I was standing in the way. There had been times before when the saints attempted to be a blessing to me in this fashion, but I would always shut it down. I would shut it down because 1) I have convictions about the attention being on the Person of Jesus and NOT the personality of the pastor(s), 2) I did not want to jeopardize our commitment to do the best that we can to practice good stewardship and 3) growing up in church I have been exposed to these events and seen how all too often they can present some interesting challenges. Hence, I did not want anyone subjected to that because they were trying to be a blessing to me. And quite frankly, had I known what the people of God were up to, again, I would have shut it down. However, God had something else in mind. Therefore, He empowered the saints to pull off this surprise without a hitch. I WAS GENUINELY SHOCKED WHEN I WALKED IN THAT ROOM LAST FRIDAY! It was an incredibly blessed event, and I will always be ever so grateful to The International Good News Fellowship, my wife and children and our family and friends that came to celebrate with me.
As the week following the event began to progress, God began to deal with me. He showed me the event had to take place for two reasons. First, the people of God needed to be given the chance to minister to me in a way that would bless them. Often times as leaders in the Kingdom, we have convictions about abusing the people. These convictions are good and noble and appropriate when they do not interfere with Kingdom dynamics of reciprocity. Sometimes, the people you give to must be afforded the opportunity to give back to you, especially when you are their ministry leader. This brings us to the second reason. God used this event to confront, challenge and correct a deep-seated spirit of pride I had, which was religious, self-righteousness that prevented me from humbling myself enough to receive from others. He spoke this to my heart this past Monday. The next day I came across the verse above in my daily reading and that clinched it. I was blocking people from blessing me and subsequently being blessed because I WAS TOO PROUD to make myself vulnerable enough to receive from them.
I learned (and I’m learning) a few things from this. First, pride is a spirit with multiple personalities. We have to be ever vigilant in prayer, reading God’s Word, and obedient to the spiritual disciplines that are Biblically-based and directed so that we will not be influenced and controlled by it. IT IS A DANGEROUS SPIRIT. If you don’t believe it, ask Lucifer! You could be influenced by it with your wonderful, spiritual self and not even know it!! Second, there are certain levels of blessing we hinder God from bringing us to because we are TOO PROUD to receive. Deep down, subconsciously, we don’t want to let the giver have the power by receiving from them. This is so anti-God. If you think about it, you can’t even have a relationship with God without initially covering this base. You have to be humble enough to accept God’s GIFT of Jesus Christ GIVEN to us as THEE ONLY WAY OF SALVATION AND SUBSEQUENTLY RELATING TO GOD. And that principle of humbly receiving continues throughout the rest of our walk with Him.
So, examine yourself. And let me ask you, are you HUMBLE enough to make yourself vulnerable to whomever and whatever God wants to use to bless you? If not, you could be hindering one of the greatest blessings you’ve ever seen in your life.
Humbly Submitted With Love,
Pastor Darren E Butler, Sr