Do You Want To Be SOMEBODY?

One of my pulpit heroes preached at my church. We didn’t really know one another. Yet he agreed to come. I was beyond excited.

I have absolutely no recollection of the service or sermon that night. But I will never forget the conversation afterward in my study.

Food had been prepared. And a few preachers hung around to eat and chat, including several denomination leaders that had come to hear our special guest.

The denominational leaders began to encourage me to get more involved in the work. It felt more like pressure. They dropped the hook with tempting bait. If  I would do this and that, it would make sure preaching opportunities, important positions, and other “benefits.”

As a young pastor, and being new to all of this, my eyes were big.

My guest speaker was not in this conversation. But he overheard and pulled up a chair right next to me. He then began to tell me about denominational horror stories he had experienced.

The denominational leaders’ eyes got big.

I tried to head off an incident by (half) jokingly saying, “Doc, you know there are denominational leaders at the table with us, don’t you?”

I don’t care,” was his firm response.

Some of the men at the table were his friends. He was not trying to disrespect them. He was trying to get my attention.

It worked.

He began to list all the conferences and conventions he had where he had recently spoken. He asked, “Do you know which one I am a part of?” I already knew the answer. None of them.

He kept talking, challenging me to live for God, preach the word, and serve my congregation.

The room emptied out. But he kept talking, assuring me that God would open doors of opportunity for me if I kept my priorities straight.

It was way past midnight. But he was still talking. I didn’t say a word. I couldn’t. I was too busy crying. He was saying what I desperately needed to hear. More than he could know. I had been too focused on where my “gifts’ could take me. I needed to be slapped in the face with a reminder that my only responsibility was to be faithful. The Lord is in charge of personnel placement.

He finally let me up for air. Sort of.

After challenging me for several hours, he ended the conversation dismissively.

“I hope I have not just wasted my time,” he said. “I hope not. But I think you want to be somebody. I don’t want to be somebody. I just want to preach. But I think you want to be somebody.”

Through tears, I finally responded. “I don’t want to be somebody, either,” I whimpered. “I just want to preach.”

That life-changing conversation took place twenty years ago. But I still wrestle with the temptation to want to be somebody. May the Lord continue to help me to be content with the high calling to preach the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Do you want to be somebody?

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18 thoughts on “Do You Want To Be SOMEBODY?

  1. Pastor Charles,
    Thank you. I am still amazed how God gives us what we need and
    when we need it. I am sitting here feeling left out of our Denominational
    stuff and God sends me this word from you. I am not yet pastoring and I
    know God has great plans for me. I will only endeavor to be faithful to God.
    Thank you for your mentorship!

  2. HB- Thanks a bunch. A very poignant story. I appreciate your approach to ministry and pray God’s continued blessings on you and your family and your influence in the Body. I came across you earlier this year on a search for brotha’s that are expositional with the scriptures. JohhnyMac (lol) has influenced me as well, along with many other expositors, past and present. Expositional preaching seems to be in the minority in “our” churches. Stay encouraged and stick to your “guns,” for you are somebody. From Baltimore, MD

  3. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I but the grace of God which was with me.” 1 Cor. 15:10…………………..
    Keep handling God’s business H.B.!

  4. Thank you for this post, Pastor Charles. Very timely for me. We are just called to be faithful. Personal placement is left to God to decide. Amen, Amen and AMEN.

  5. With tears I say thank you! You have become a pulpit hero to me because of your strong commitment to just want to preach and serve your congregation. Although we are very close in age ( I think I might even be a few months older) you have been a distant mentor. I’m not yet a pastor but I have struggled with needing to be involved in all of the denominational melee hoping that opportunity would fall out of it. Thanks for sharing this you’ve not wasted your time!

  6. For me this was the most “up to the second on time” blog I’ve ever read. Blessings on you for sharing that word.