This is the title of Chapter 50 in the fourth book of, “The Testimonies to the Church”. It has taken me two days to read this particular chapter and for good reason. In this, she explains, how weak and self-serving those who serve God have become. I’m a witness to this and as a result I am beginning to feel my worthlessness. Let me explain.
I grew in a church which was the stepping stone for pastors. It was the largest church in the conference and to be selected to pastor could only mean something greater would be imminent. One of them, Pastor Harold E. Cleveland later became the president of the conference. I’m sure there are many other stories of those who stood before that Sacred Desk, of which I am not privy. These were, in my eyes, great men of God. Pastor Mimms. Pastor C. D. Brooks. Pastor Brogden. Great men of God. This coming Sabbath, I, again will stand behind the Sacred Desk and it makes me wonder because I know how I am. I know how filthy I am. I know how much I am sooo unworthy of this privilege, this calling, it makes me wonder, “Why me?” Why am I given this opportunity? Is it possible those previously named individuals had secrets? Had indiscretions? What was their struggle? I don’t know the answer but I surely know what mine are.
Maybe what I’m going through, at this minute, is an “emptying of self”. I understand sometimes this takes place before being in a position where one has to “remove thy shoes from off thy feet”. Why? Because standing on Holy Ground requires it. Moses and Joshua, one knew his purpose and the other didn’t, but both were told to “remove their shoes” because of the position they were in. They were in the presence of God. Marching orders were to be given them and they needed the assurance God is going to be their guide, their strength, to achieve whatever it is He needs to be accomplished using mere, frail and often disgusting pieces of humanity which we are. Filled with sin and, well, it can’t get any worse than this, “filled with sin”, yet God only asks us to “remove our shoes”. Put aside what you are so “I AM” able to use you for a greater good despite who you are. He who formed our first parents from the dust of the ground continues to form dust into who we are.
It’s an honor to be considered a “servant of God”. The honor is emphasized on God than the servant but the servant receives the greater honor because God chooses that servant, this vessel which He might fill so it can be emptied on those who need to receive something.
Those men I’ve mentioned, some have gone on to their rest and for those of us who remain, we cannot rest because someone has to step up, to carry the message. A mailman cannot allow weather to affect his delivery. A “Servant of God” cannot allow discomforts, problems, and willful sin to affect our delivery. I’m learning how to “empty self” and allow God to use me. As a pastor friend once counseled me, “If you were going to preach, then there is a problem. But if the Holy Spirit is going to preach, through you, that’s the solution.”
I welcome you, Holy Spirit.
February 3, 2015