Remember ‘altar-calls’? Some churches still have them. Others still have them but call them something different. An altar-call was an invitation for people to come forward and accept Jesus, or repent, or do some sort of business with God. The idea was that in coming forward you were approaching God in that moment of time. Now hold that thought.
Altar-moments alter motives. Pastors need altar-moments to reveal their true motives. Sometimes our motives are good and sometimes our motives need to be altered. Often times the line between the two is very, very thin.
For example, why do we want our church to grow? I know the correct answer is, because we want to reach the lost. But is there any other motive mixed into that? Do we want our church to grow so that we can pay our operating expenses? Do we want our church to grow so that we will feel good about ourselves or so that our peers will think of us as successful? Why do we want people to follow our leadership or submit to our pastoral authority? Why do we do and want what we do and want? Are our motives good or not so good? It’s not always easy to know. That’s why altar-moments alter motives.
As we approach the altar in silence and solitude we position ourselves to have our motives revealed. We join hands with David and pray…
“Search me, O God, and know my heart ; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
I think it’s natural, and possibly unavoidable, to have mixed motives. Most everything is a mixture of Spirit and flesh. But if we can recognize poor motives and make the necessary adjustments we will experience the push of the good rather than the pull of the not so good. Never underestimate your ability to think your motives are pure when in fact they are not.
Altar-moments alter motives. Is it time for an altar-call?