do we want a career or Jesus?

In 1994, John Wimber gave an interview to the British magazine Worship Together. Here is an excerpt that really spoke to me:

Over the last six months I’ve spent time re-reading some of the evangelical classics, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith. I was given a copy the third week after I became a Christian, and it gave me a context for spirituality, and a foundation for trust in and obedience to God. Books like that have taught me that seeking God for experiences and gifts is superficial: we are simply called to seek God! I’ve preached many times that we are called to a reverential serving of God with our whole heart and being, stressing that if anything except God is your portion in life, I can’t guarantee it; I can’t guarantee that your children will be happy, or that your spouse will love you forever… but I can guarantee that if your desire is Jesus, you’ll get Jesus, and you can walk with Him all the days of your life.

When I went through this cancer a year or so ago, I was astounded when people from my own church asked me, “Weren’t you afraid you were going to die?” After about the fiftieth person, I realized that I hadn’t really taught my congregation the truth of the word. I had to get before them and say, “In June 1963 this man died. And everything from that time to this has been Jesus.” I’m not trying to hold on to my life; I gave my life up.

When I became a Christian, I was a musician with two albums I had produced in the U.S. Top Ten; it was the establishment of my career after  thirteen years of hard work. But God spoke to me in the two-line parable of the pearl of great price: “I want it. Give it to me.” He didn’t say, “give it to me and then I will give you a career as a pastor, or a music ministry that will go to many nations of the world.” He said, “give everything. Liquidate all your assets, and I’ll give you the pearl.”

Now the pearl isn’t a new career, or the opportunity to make a name for yourself as a worship writer or leader. It isn’t even the ability to sustain yourself in that profession. If your readers’ motivation in being involved in their local church worship is to make a full-time career of it, they’ll probably be disappointed.

The pearl is Jesus. And if He is their focus, they’ll go right through this revival unscathed. Oh, they’ll have to face things, but they will come through in godly fashion, and they will stand unashamed before the Lord, having been used to refresh a nation – and through that nation, probably a whole continent.