Courage to Leave
15th Sunday after Pentecost
He pulled his Mercedes up to his parking spot and, still talking on his cell phone, he hurried into the church. He was late for a meeting with the contractors who were going to be putting another new addition onto the worship space. In the fifteen years he had been the pastor of this church it had grown immensely.
People enjoyed his sermons, liked the upscale neighborhood where the church was located, and were intrigued by the many ministries offered by this young congregation. When he started out there, he was the only pastor – in fact, the only staff at all. He juggled assembling the bulletin for Sunday, answering phone, doing all the visitation, leading every meeting, in addition to all the preaching and teaching.
What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?Mark 8:36
He did it all and did it well. Today there is a staff of thirty people, including five pastors. This church has no debt and more than enough money to start new programs at any time. New members join every month. The pastor is respected in the community. Yes, he’s built a very good life there. This ministry has been good to him. Nice house, nice car, nice salary, nice church.
But he’s leaving soon. He’s not leaving because he doesn’t love it there – he does. He’s not leaving because his ministry has grown stale – it hasn’t. He’s leaving because he’s a little too comfortable, and he knows it.
He’s leaving because he knows that having the courage to leave all that has become so familiar and easy might be just what he needs to grow, to ignite his passion for the gospel again, to uncover more of what he might offer this hurting world.
He’s leaving because of what he heard in these words: “For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?” (Mark 8:36)