Thursday, October 1, 2009

Eye 2 Eye: What Does It Matter?

By Bishop Charles Scott
The aroma of the smoked fish lying on the coals wafted through the sober atmosphere. The water laid silent where moments earlier multitudes of the flopping fish had broken the surface filling the fisherman’s nets to abundant capacity. Their eyes could not escape Jesus; it was the third time they had seen Him since Calvary. Their ears could not believe they were hearing Him speak. Their minds could not conceive that He was now here, eating fish and teaching the matters of the Kingdom. The conversation grew even more intense as Jesus spoke three times directly to Peter with a piercing, probing, penetrating question: “Lovest thou Me?” Each one felt the agony of the question, for each knew the question did not belong to Peter alone; they all knew that the answer to Jesus’ question is all that really matters.

It had been one of those days. The calls were polite but indifferent to facts. The letters were harsh, critical and unfounded. One letter was going to receive a four-page reply, just to set the record straight and put them in their place. It was late. No one else was in the office. They left hours ago. Then the phone rang. Not now; don’t they know what time it is? A few small-talk sentences, then the bomb fell. The youngest daughter had been attacked. The felon stabbed her repeatedly. She was brutally raped. He left her for dead. Her 3-year child slept during the violence. Between the sobs, the moans and the tears as the story unfolded, it mattered. It mattered that someone was there. It mattered that someone listened. It mattered that someone cried. It mattered that someone prayed. It mattered that someone loved. It is all that really matters.

The shelves are lined with books and manuals. The web folders reveal the sites where the best resources can be located. They all tell how to build preaching ability. They all give insight to vision, faith, management skills and leadership essentials. They provide inspiration, motivation and rationalization. They engage the mind to think with success. They build the soul and its self-esteem. They challenge the spirit to achieve excellence. They fortify the vocabulary with buzz words. They develop the leader. They leave something out: “How do you know what really matters?”

If the Pentecostal Church of God is going to be a significant voice in this generation expressing biblical truth, then it must know what matters. It must know that it matters to be absolute in a culture of gray. It must know that it matters to be relevant in a culture of exponential change. It must know that it matters to be global in a culture of segregation. It must know that it matters to be connected in a culture of isolation. Its leaders must know what really matters.

What matters is Jesus, not political correctness. What matters is the Kingdom, not personal security. What matters is truth, not expression of opinion. What matters is integrity, not appeasing the crowd. What truly defines leaders is a deep spiritual knowledge of what matters. Quasileaders, or those who hold a position without the qualifications, spend time and energy and that of others on things that do not matter. They use tears and snot to attract emotional sympathy. They use fear and “concern” as smokescreens for personal platforms. They build alliances to their positions. They use bullying techniques of intimidation to control people. They talk about accountability but take no affirmative action. They take small things and make big issues. They think they are all that matters.

Peter’s eyes fell on John. What about John? Was John going to face the same demise? Was John going to be spared? Jesus’ words were tender but pointed, “What is that to thee? Follow thou me.” Perspective. Priority. Parity. Paradigm. Proficient. Persuasion. What did it matter about John? You have an assignment: follow Me. Nothing else matters.

The phone was placed back in the cradle. The four-page letter of rebuke and rebuttal was reduced to two paragraphs. What does it matter? When you take a course of action, someone is always going to tell you it was wrong; what does it matter? When you serve with all your heart you never get it all right, what does it matter? It matters only when you do what you do because you do it for Jesus Christ. It matters only when you do what you do because Jesus did everything for you. And that is all that matters. We should see that eye to eye.

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