Jimmy Scroggins has eight children. As they have grown up he’s taught them all to drive and so far he said all of them have been good drivers — except one.
His son Jeremiah is a “wonderful guy” but a “horrible driver,” said Scroggins, pastor of Family Church, a West Palm Beach, Florida-based church with 11 campuses. Jeremiah was voted Worst Driver of his senior class this year.
And if that isn’t enough proof Scroggins told the crowd at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Pastors Conference on June 10 a story about how one day his son plowed through a gate in their neighborhood, breaking it into pieces. As Scroggins went to check on the damage and help clean it up the neighborhood security guard — knowing that Jeremiah had done it — lectured Scroggins about why no one should ever just drive through a gate like that.
Finally in frustration Scroggins cried out that it wasn’t his fault — they both knew he wasn’t the one who had driven through the gate.
The guard then asked Scroggins, “Are you his dad?” Scroggins said yes. And the man replied, “It’s not your fault — but it is your responsibility.”
That’s the way it is with a lot of things in the world, Scroggins told those in the crowd.
“There are things that are happening in our families, our churches, our communities and our world that are not our fault, but God has made them our responsibility,” he said. “Showing this world what the Kingdom of heaven looks like is our responsibility.”
Preaching from Matthew 5:12–13 — and wrapping up the Beatitudes — he challenged Christians to be salt and light so that everyone would “see their good works” and give glory to the Father in heaven.
Scroggins said sometimes it’s easy to look around at all the turmoil in the SBC — sin and self-destruction, crazy squabbles on social media, the struggle for racial reconciliation and covered-up sexual abuse scandals — and think “it’s not my fault.”
But he said he feels like God is telling him that for the sake of the Kingdom, he’s got to own some of the responsibility for shaping the convention into something that shows love, not a people who tear each other down.
To be salt and light Scroggins said he and other Southern Baptists will have to become “the lighted up city welcoming people to come and get water that will make them live.”
“Believers are supposed to live like that,” he said.
They should also be “gritty difference makers,” Scroggins said, “but we can’t be unless we actually care.”
Salty living means showing love and being quick to listen, he said. “We have to be winsome enough to win some.”
“I’m a much better pastor when I can weep with those who are weeping,” Scroggins said. “I am much more of a difference-maker when I can try to feel what someone else is feeling. I might not have experienced what they’ve experienced, but it just makes such a big difference to try to care — to try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes.” (Grace Thornton)
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