For those who don’t know me that well, I’m always on the hunt for illustrations, especially preaching illustrations. I’m a preacher and I understand the value of an example that I can use to crystalize a Biblical truth.
Having said that, today we had some work done at the Parsonage and it required digging up part of the back yard and I had the opportunity to speak to the gentleman who was doing back-breaking work outside to see how the work was going. As I stood in the doorway, he told me that when he dug up the yard, he discovered bricks. Apparently at some point in the past, topsoil was added on top of the existing brick. The bricks from the former pathway were not removed, but simply topsoil and then grass seedings were added – so much so that years later no one even knew that underneath there lies bricks.
It made me wonder – how many of us have bricks in our souls – those things, those strongholds, those burdens, those pains that have not been removed or exorcised or dealt with – instead have been paved over, with weaker material; paved over, with decorative topsoil; paved over – so that when the years go by no one can see what’s underneath the skin, underneath the soil, and yes, underneath the soul.
In order to flourish in ministry you have to deal with the bricks under the soil. It’s impossible to serve others with bricks that are below the surface. Many of us know Pastors and Ministers that have fallen into publicized sins because there were bricks – an abusive childhood, a terrible marriage, the stress of pastoring and ministry – which are there – they haven’t been dealt with, they haven’t been unearthed – but that day could be coming in the future and when they’re unearthed, it could cause problems in life.
I’m praying that every pastor, every minister will deal with the bricks. No matter how painful, no matter how embarrassing, no matter how sensitive – will deal with the bricks. Let me tell you that removing bricks is something to praise God for. Removing the bricks means that God has more in store for you. Removing the bricks means that you have forgiven those who have hurt you and released the Holy Spirit the opportunity to cleanse your spiritual palate and it gives God the opportunity to propel you away from the pain, the hurt, the anger to a point of where the bricks are no longer part of your personal story.
Thank God, the bricks have been removed. Today, he hauled the bricks away. Where? I have no idea – but when the Lord does it, too, I don’t know where, but I’m glad they’re gone.