Lessons from Lynyrd Skynyrd & Mother Teresa

I’m conflicted.

I was talking yesterday with a fellow Louisville groups minister and writer, and he kidded me about my new author’s page on Facebook (and yes, I did just link to it so you can check it out!).

When I was thinking about adding this page on Facebook, I admit I was very conflicted. I want to be a humble man of God. I try to be. But I’m not always very good at it. Lots of room to grow here. I love the song by Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Simple Man,” written from the perspective of a mother talking to her son. Here is part of the song (the complete lyrics can be found here):

And be a simple kind of man
Be something you love and understand
Baby be a simple kind of man
Oh, won’t you do this for me son if you can?

Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this, oh baby, if you try
All that I want for you my son is to be satisfied

I want to be that simple kind of man, the kind of man who works not to satisfy myself, but the God who created me for his purpose.

I explained to a friend that it’s like Mother Teresa said, “I’m just a little pencil (or maybe a laptop?) in the hand of a writing God.” I thank him for giving me a gift to share.

Today, Bernice posted a question on the page asking me a valid question: “Is this a money maker or what is your purpose, just curious??” I’m glad she asked. Here’s my response:

My heart is for God to use me to help leaders. The way I feel called to do that is partially through my writing, and I would like to let more people know about it. I don’t want to self-promote, and I’m not getting rich through the sales of books I’ve written. But when you write, you hope and pray God will use it to have as widespread effect as it can.

I want to honor God through what I do and I hope and pray that God will use my life to somehow advance his purposes in his kingdom.

God has created me with a two-fold passion for small groups and leadership, and he’s given me a love for writing. I want to be a good steward of what he’s given me. I don’t want to be a “self-promoter.” I fight the urge to do that. And, to be truthful, I do feel some pride well up when any worldly success comes. It’s almost like I want to prove myself to my dad (who passed from this life 11 years ago): “See, dad! I’m a success.” That feeling comes from a black part of my heart that I ask God to continue to heal.

Now I know that by putting up my own author’s page on Facebook, I risk looking arrogant. My intention may be misunderstood. God knows my heart. He’ll eventually judge my intentions. So I took a risk. Now I’m explaining it (probably over-explaining it!). I guess I’m sharing this because I do care about what my friends think in a (hopefully) positive way. I want you to know my true heart. I want you to see what’s on the other side of the page.

My hope is that I someday get to hear my Heavenly Father say, “Well done!” My prayer is simply that all the attention and glory goes to him, not me. He deserves it. I don’t. He’s worthy of it. I’m not. If I’m going to be an author or a leader or anything, I want to first be a man after his heart.

How is God using you today to send his love letter to the world?

Author: Michael Mack

Michael Mack has been involved in small group ministry as a pastor, writer, trainer, and speaker for more than 25 years. He founded SmallGroups.com in 1995 and started Small Group Leadership in 2012. He became the 12th editor of Christian Standard magazine in 2017 and continues to speak in churches about small groups, discipleship, and leadership. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. They have four young adult children. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of friends. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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