Eyes That Twinkle

The real measure of a great church are the eyes that twinkle.

Mark 1:17, NRSV

I apologize for not posting a blog for Wednesday of this week. I attended our church’s annual conference in Lakeside, Ohio. The cottage in which we were staying had spotty Wi-Fi coverage and I was unable to get messages out on a consistent basis.

However, my family and I are back in Cincinnati. While we were away, I ran into a dear friend. His name is Dave. Dave is yet another example of what it means to be pure in heart. As I mentioned last Sunday, the heart is the mission control center of human thought and action. In other words, the heart is the place out of which one’s priorities take shape. In simple terms, the heart is the seat of one’s will.

When it comes to following Jesus, Dave is all-in. He possesses a singleness of purpose in life unlike many I’ve come across. Dave was called into local ministry about five years ago. He left a rather lucrative career and became a pastor of a three-point charge in a rural farm district. When Dave preaches, his eyes twinkle. He passionately loves Jesus and wants others to know the love of Jesus, as well.

Dave was sharing with me how his mood has been subdued of late. His ministry hasn’t sparked a great revival within the church. There are just as many empty seats in worship as when he first arrived. However, something amazing happened just recently. Dave offered a confirmation class. One young lady showed up. A few days before this youth was confirmed, Dave asked her what she wanted to do with her new faith. She said simply, “I want to spend the rest of my life helping everyone I meet come to know and love Jesus.”

There are now two sets of eyes that twinkle in Dave’s congregations. God has doubled the membership of Dave’s evangelism team. I am thrilled for Dave and his churches yet I offer this simple observation. Increasing numbers within the life of the church isn’t all that God is seeking. God is truly interested with the prospects of increasing our commitment to Jesus. When we talk about giving our hearts to Jesus, we are essentially making Jesus the number one priority in life, wherein his purposes become our purposes, his values become our values, and his actions become our actions.

Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Southern California claims that the measure of a church’s success is not its seating capacity but its sending capacity. In other words, God is most interested in making the kinds of disciples who not only come to worship Jesus but also go passionately into the world to represent him. So, here’s to you Dave! Keep the twinkle sparkling in your eyes and more importantly, keep the fire of your commitment to Jesus alive in your heart.