And, I don’t know him personally, but when asked, I’m sure that he’d say the same thing. In fact, I think he did say it at the conference. “God is God, I am not.”
I went to Radicalis (www.radicalis.com) and heard Rick Warren speak/teach for the first time. I was really blessed and inspired and learned a lot. I found myself really admiring his passion and his teaching.
Until I realized, yes, Rick Warren has wonderful talents to be a great leader and a great pastor, but all those talents and gifts are God-given. Rick Warren is where he is because of who God is and what God has done through Rick.
I think we have to be careful in who and why we admire and respect leaders/pastors and also be careful when we may find ourselves in a position where we are admired and respected by people in our community and churches. Simply put, and quoting Rick, it’s not about us. It’s never about us. The moment we make it about us, we’re going down a very slippery hill that may lead us to a similar fate Herod faced in Act 12 (whether figuratively or literally).
I admire Rick Warren and other pastors who are very well known throughout the Christian community and beyond. I love their writings and their sermons and ideas for ministry. But, the big picture is without God, whether we are pastors of mega-churches or pastors to a loving group of two, we are nothing, created out of love from dust. Everything we do needs to point to God. Everything needs to lead to God. We are all like John the Baptist that make the paths straight to/for God.
The real danger here is that people might begin to put their faith in the pastor and not in God. That will simply lead to disaster. It’s like Joash and Jehoiada the priest (2 Chronicles 24). Joash served God while Jehoiada was “overseeing” Joash and mentoring and guiding him. Joash repaired the temple. But when Jehoiada died, Joash simply disobeyed God and did things that were displeasing to God’s eye. Joash’s faith wasn’t in God, but in Jehoiada. Joash lived vicariously through Jehoiada’s faith. We, as leaders and pastors, cannot make that mistake. We cannot desire to be the superstar pastor. We cannot make ministry about us or for our personal gain.
As Rick Warren said, “God is God, I am not.”
May we continue to humbly and faithfully serve God in the path God has uniquely set for us. And let’s remember, while we are on this journey with God: It’s never about us.