This may be obvious to some but it has been a liberating revelation to me. Almost daily I encounter people by phone or email who need something in their lives "fixed." Because the church is often known as a place of restoration (which is a good thing), people come to the pastor of a church to "fix" them. Whether they have physical, emotional, financial, psychological or spiritual problems, they come to me wanting to be fixed. Most of the time we've lived in Tacoma I thought that if I could just "fix" whatever was broken in their lives, they would see the power and grace of Jesus and give their life to him... I was wrong.
What I found instead was that by acting in my own strength not only was I not helping them, I was stealing glory from God and getting myself more and more frustrated. Does that mean I refuse to be there for people in the midst of their brokenness? Absolutely not. That is what the entire church is called to do (not just the pastor). We can often provide a "patch" (Matt. 25) while God brings the eternal "fix." However, over the last few weeks I've stopped trying to fix people and just been really honest with them. I've told them that the only thing that can fix them is a relationship with God through Jesus. Some people are interested in what that looks like, some people move on to the next place they think they can get a quick "fix."
Don't get me wrong, we still meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs. I've just switched the order in which I offer things and I've changed the expectation of where the results lie. I first offer Jesus, and only Jesus. Then if we can meet a felt need we will do so. However, I've learned to make it clear that Jesus promises brokenness, hard times, and junk in our lives. It's guaranteed. If you disagree, read the beatitudes in Matthew 5, or read James or 1 Peter. Our lives this side of heaven will never be completely "fixed." However, we can have an eternal "fixing" that will give us hope through our worldly struggles.
What I've learned is that only Jesus brings that kind of "fixing." Only Jesus can give that eternal hope. I can't. I can just point people to Jesus. So can you.