Words I Needed to Hear

I’ll never forget the day a friend dropped by my study. We spoke for a while, and just before he left, he had that look of unfinished business on his face.

On the phone
(Image from Unsplash)

He couldn’t leave without looking at me squarely in the eyes and saying some hard things.

“I don’t know how I should say these things, Chuck. But I can’t just ignore them either. The fact is, I’m concerned.”

That stung a little. “Concerned about what?” I probed.

You. I’m concerned that you might get so busy you’ll start cutting corners in your study of the Scriptures. I want to urge you: do not let that happen. We need you to continue doing original work, reading widely, thinking deeply . . . and speaking with the kind of depth and passion we have come to expect from you.

His words were punctuated with emotion. By now he was really serious.

As he finally stood up to leave, I walked over to him and embraced him. I told him how much I appreciated his words of warning, the genuineness of his heart, the courage of his reproof.

The man demonstrated that he cared—he truly cared—for my soul.

I reassured him that I never wanted to neglect the essentials in my life or my ministry.

I invited him to come again, especially if he ever had reason to believe that I was yielding to the subtle temptation of shooting from the hip or coming to the pulpit without having spent sufficient time in preparation of heart and mind.

God deserves my best, not the leftover scraps of a harum-scarum schedule.

After he left, I sat back down, swallowed hard, and sighed. Not only did he need to say those things, I needed to hear them. Believe me, I really did.

I believe every pastor needs to hear them often.

Maybe you need to hear them too?

—Chuck

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