Maybe if the other disciples had not been listening in, Jesus would not have rebuked Peter like he did. “But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.” (Mk. 8:33) Peter felt uncomfortable with Jesus’ prediction of his upcoming crucifixion. “Don’t talk like that Jesus.”, Peter said, “Things are going great! Your numbers are growing…you’re the most popular thing happening in all of Israel.” And in the back, behind Peter, the rest of the disciples were nodding their heads in agreement. But Jesus wasn’t interested in his growing popularity. Nor was Jesus interested in setting up some new political empire. This misconception of Peter and the rest had to be dealt with quickly and brutally. “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”
What an interesting statement by Jesus. There’s more to it than merely a harsh correction. Apparently there are things that man is interested in and things that God is interested in, and often times they are not the same.
I read this story from Mark a couple weeks ago during my quiet time and it made me wonder. What if some of the things pastors are interested in, or have been told they should be interested in, God is disinterested in? I’m referring to church things, ministry related things. Are there, could there be, things we think are important that God does not think important? How many of our ideas about church, church growth, church management, and ministry originate more from our western culture than from the heart of God? And if this is true, could it be that God is disinterested in the size of our church? I wonder.
I’ve been out of the pastorate for ten years now. But prior to starting Small Church Pastor I’d served in five churches over the course of 28 years. Looking back I can now see that there were many things I was worried about that I didn’t need to be worried about. There were things I gave my energy to that didn’t really turn out to be as important as I thought they were. I had my interests and God had His. Sometimes ours were the same and, apparently…sometimes they were different.
What if some of the things we’ve been told about how to do church and how to grow a church are things God is disinterested in? What if? I wonder.