Pastor and author Max Lucado admits he once turned to alcohol to help him deal with the stress of ministry.
“The staff needed me. The pulpit required me. The publisher was counting on me. The entire world was looking at me. So I did what came naturally. I began to drink,” he wrote in his new book, “God Never Gives Up on You.” “Not publicly. I was the guy you see at the convenience store who buys the big can of beer, hides it in a sack and presses it against his thigh so no one will see as he hurries out the door. My store of choice was on the other side of the city lest I be seen. I’d sit in the car, pull the can out of the sack and guzzle the liquid until it took the edge off the sharp demands of the day.”
The teaching minister of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio believed he had everything under control, from his staff issues and deadlines to his drinking. But no matter how much he justified it in his mind, God spoke to his heart. Lucado likens it to the wrestling that happened between Jacob and God in the book of Genesis.
“The wrestling match lasted for the better part of an hour on a spring afternoon,” he said. “God didn’t touch my hip, but he spoke to my heart. `Really, Max? If you have everything together, if you have a lock on this issue, then why are you hiding in a parking lot, sipping a beer that you’ve concealed in a brown paper bag?’”
Lucado said that just like Jacob in the Bible, God showed grace to him despite the deception and the mistakes he made.
“God extended grace to me,” he said. “Abundantly. I confessed my hypocrisy to our elders, and they did what good pastors do. They covered me with prayer and designed a plan to help me cope with demands. I admitted my struggle to the congregation and in doing so activated a dozen or so conversations with members who battled the same temptation.”
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice | Metro Voice