Confession: I am a feedback junkie.
Every time I lead worship or speak or teach a class or write something, I am immediately asking, “How was it? What did you think? Did that make sense?” or something similar. I eagerly wait for editorial responses to articles submitted, and I watch for follow up comments to those that get posted (either to bask in or maybe to argue with). It would be tempting to seek out people that I know will assuage my insecurities and tell me how great I am, but I know that wouldn’t do any good, so, among others, I always ask my wife. I can trust her to tell me the truth even if the truth isn’t what my ego wants to admit. Then I can fix what needs fixed and be satisfied with what was done well.
In John 5, a couple verses are really standing out to me right now that show Jesus taking a very different approach: “Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me…” (v. 41) Ouch! The Jewish leaders were ticked off with Jesus and trying to find a way to permanently shut him up. Essentially, He told them He didn’t really care if they liked what He did or not because He was only doing what His Father wanted done, and “because I know you don’t have God’s love within you.” (v. 42) BIG Ouch!
Jesus wasn’t taking exit polls and checking His numbers all the time. He couldn’t have told you what search term on Google or Bing led the most people to His latest post. He had no idea what His Klout score was and couldn’t have cared less.
And all of that confidence rested in His knowledge of His Father. He knew who He was and what He’d been sent for. “I do nothing without consulting my Father.” (v. 30)
How are we doing consulting the Father? Is our ministry functioning the way it does because “that’s what people want/need,” or because “that’s what God told us to do,” or maybe because “that’s what works,” or “that’s just the way we do things around here”? There is a right answer here, I think. If we want our ministries to look like that of Jesus… If we want the character of Christ to show through our own actions, we need to be consistently consulting our Father.
Does that make any sense?