Strict//EN" ""> EAGLES' REST: I Confess. I Don't Have It. The Burden.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I Confess. I Don't Have It. The Burden.

I've heard it tossed around for years and years (and trust me .. for ME, that means something....). We need a burden for the lost. If we're not burdened for the lost, something's wrong.

Well. Something must be wrong, then. I'm not.

That always bothered me. I've done all the witnessing programs, E.E., F.A.I.T.H, even one using a Billy Graham tract called "Steps to Peace With God", The 4 Spiritual Laws, etc. Lots of them. And I've gone out, witnessed, passed out tracts, etc. We've even gone to Haiti on Witnessing Crusades, twice.

By the way, that's not braggadocio; in 40+ years as an active and involved believer, you eventually come to the place that you've done a bunch of stuff.

So why no burden for the lost?

I think I've finally figured it out. Actually I think God pointed it out to me yesterday. I'm meeting with a few men from my SS class on Monday nights. Their wives are in Peg's home Bible Study that night, so they asked if they could come along and spend some time with me and I said sure. Two of us met a half-dozen weeks last Spring, and we studied the BF&M.

Hey .. I figure folks ought to know what they say it is that they believe.

This fall we're spending 8 weeks (maybe more) going through Ken Hemphills' study course "Serving God .. Discovering and Using Your Spiritual Gifts". It's a wonderful course which I've taught 8 times before in the church, and is the best I've seen in equipping people to do that for which God has gifted them. As I was mulling over what we'd discussed Monday, I hit upon what may be (for me) a real re-orientation of my thinking. Here's what I concluded:

My passion (I don't like calling it a burden, as only God can give burdens ... hence I don't think anyone can tell me what that ought to be)is for God. For Jesus. I want to serve Him. Personally.

He says we can do that.

I've always heard the word "passion" and Jesus linked together. Originally in things like the "Passion Play" and later in the motion picture ... and the thought that what drives the whole thing is Jesus' passion for people .. specifically lost people! That passion, that overwhelming drive, caused Jesus to lay down His carpentry tools and walk out of the shop. I don't think He could have stood the cries of lost souls, across the centuries, any longer. That's what finally hit me the other day.

And HIS passion drives ME.

What also clicked together is that He's told us plainly that He assembled us into the "Body of Christ" as He has seen fit, and did so for what each of us brings to the table. The KJV says it thusly:

Ephesians 4:16: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

We, as "joints", supply mobility to the muscles .. the power .. which comes from on high. And God gifts us for the task to which He appoints us.

WOW. If my passion is to serve God, He'll place the task before me. And He'll gift me for the job. And in my case, that's happened. My passion, my real "burden" if you will, is to see young married people take their relationship with God seriously and let Him reign in their lives.

That's why I teach the Couples for Christ Class at the 9:15 hour at First Baptist Church, Pelham, Alabama. I teach it because I love it, and I love it because God dropped a burden in my heart, and a passion for, those folks.

For a long time in the church, I walked around with guilt feelings because I wasn't burdened the way I'd been told I should be. When I finally figured out that God was chairman of, and the only member on, the Burden Assignment Task Force, the guilt evaporated.

In my opinion, we need preachers to stop telling the congregation what they should have a burden for, and start enabling them to find out what God has gifted them for.

Once they find out, the passion, the burden, will follow.

Let your passion be for God. Don't settle for anything less.


At 10:06 PM, September 27, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you Bob Cleveland!!! I used to sit under a pastor that told me I might not be saved if I had never prayed the "sinner's prayer" with someone in order to bring them to the LORD.

I usually let it bounce off whenever he said that...

I have a "burden" for Francoise - you know her from Kevin's blog. We e-mail almost every day. I wrote her a love letter a few weeks ago because the LORD had put such great love for her in my heart. She dismissed it, which I expected - but I'm hoping a seed was planted.

The LORD overwhelms me sometimes with "burdens" to write an encouraging note to someone or call someone.

I am "burdened" for a prisoner in Georgia who has no family to write him or send him money to spend in the prison store. My sis-in-law and I have adopted him. He loves the LORD with all his heart and will be out next year. I am looking forward to meeting my new brother in Christ!

There are many other things the LORD has placed on my heart, but, alas, the "lost" is not one of them. I rarely come into contact with "lost" people. However, my belief is that Christ is in me at all times, and, barring a really selfish day, He will be represented and seen wherever I go and it is His prerogative to lead me to minister to anyone He wants to. Hopefully, I will be listening.

Anyway, thank you for what you do. Our young people need you! There are too many out there that do not have the influence of a godly, passionate man to lead them to the only One that can give them Life!

At 5:58 AM, September 28, 2007, Blogger klasieprof said...

I think many times Christians think they "have to have a burden" before they do what is commanded.
We don't "have to have a burden" to do right. We live our lives, and are open to the possiblity that people will be brought into OUR path, that NO ONE ELSE can 'witness' too. THAT is when we need to be open to sharing.

I shudder when I think of my former self banging on doors urging the mom with a bowl of Meatloaf in her arms, screaming kids in the background and me saying GET SAVED NOW...what a nut job I was! AND how rude of me.
How much better, to cultivate TRUE loving Friendships, and be open to the risk of sharing when it comes up. Relationships first. The opportunity to share Christ will come.
There are some things that ALL believers are supposed to do--then it breaks down into more specific tasks.
I CAN do anything, but some things I"m WAYY better at. I can cajole, harangue, and manipulate just about any situation. I have leadership qualities that I can convince just about anyone to do whatever needs to be done. that the Spirit leading? NO. Will the job get done? yes. Will it be effective? Sometimes--but will God be honored?
Thats one thing I learned from Blackaby that changed my entire world. Just because I can get it done...doesn't mean It should be done.

At 6:47 AM, September 28, 2007, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

Marie: Thanks for the kind words. I think it's Jesus' passion and love for those folks that's driving you. We talk about showing for the love of God, but sometimes don't recognize it when it jumps up and bites us. I think you've been bitten..

KP: I can identify with you! I've been a salesman for 40 years and know all the buying signals, closing techniques, the seven "selling questions", all of that. It used to be hard to turn that off when talking about Jesus. Fortunately, some of my early mentors recognized that and led me to see the light.

At 9:43 PM, October 01, 2007, Blogger Wayne Smith said...


Your Post here should be read by All. Your walk is very similar to my walk with the Lord and how the Lord has used me in Sharing God’s Word by Planting, Watering and Cultivating. The Holy Spirit does the Convicting of Hearts and Most Times we don’t know what the results are. Have received many letters later on Sharing how they have excepted Christ and been Born Again, Thanks for sharing This Post.

In His Name

At 8:39 AM, October 04, 2007, Blogger Amy said...

Wow, that really made sense. Trust me, that's a huge compliment... I get lost pretty easily.

Right now, the best way for me to describe my spritual life is PFFFFFFTTTTT!

I need to work on re-finding my passion for God. I know He's there waiting for me to get my butt in gear again, but I'm standing like a stubborn 3 year old with my arms crossed sayin' "NO! I like it over here!"

I'm so glad salvation isn't based on works, I'd be in a lot of trouble.

At 8:47 AM, October 04, 2007, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...


Thanks for looking in. I'll drop you an email with a couple of observations.

And thanks for the kind words. I really appreciate it.


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