Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. 1 Timothy 4:12b(NLT)
Timothy was a young pastor. Paul was his mentor. In giving this young leader instruction on lifestyle and leadership, the Apostle was laying down an immutable reality that the life of a leader would become the life of those who follow.
An early mentor of mine was L.B. Thomasson, pastor of First Baptist Church, Crystal River, Florida for more than 25 years. L.B. told me, as Paul told Timothy, be careful what you say, and how you say it; the church will, after a while, take on the personality of its pastor.
And the change is always subtle. C.S. Lewis wrote in That Hideous Strength:
This was the first thing Mark had been asked to do which he himself, before he did it, clearly knew to be criminal. But the moment of his consent almost escaped his notice; certainly, there was no struggle, no sense of turning a corner. There may have been a time in the world’s history when such moments fully revealed their gravity, with witches prophesying on a blasted heath or visible Rubicons to be crossed. But, for him, it all slipped past in a chatter of laughter, of that intimate laughter between fellow professionals, which of all earthly powers is strongest to make men do very bad things before they are yet, individually, very bad men. [ii]
When I reflect on change which happens, ever so gradually in my life, I see the truth of what C.S. Lewis was holding up to the light, and that about which Paul warned Timothy; if you do not ruthlessly guard your inner life, your character, it will not be long before your visible life, your actions, will certainly follow.
If that is true in the life of an individual, or a church, that the pastor’s lifestyle and attitude will alter the way the flock moves and thinks, is it not so that it will be that way with larger assemblies? Will it not be that way in municipalities and countries?
Have you ever asked yourself, how in the world did we get here?
The answer, for C.S. Lewis, Paul the Apostle, and for any right thinking person, is always that we got here because our culture became a reflection of the character of the ones we chose to lead us.
Whom shall it be that I put in charge of this holy day God has granted me?
You chew on that as you hit the Rocky Road today…have a blessed day!
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[i] Title Image: By Russell Brownworth [own work]
[ii] That Hideous Strength. Copyright © 1945 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All right reserved under international and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Words to Live By: A Guide for the Merely Christian. Copyright © 2007 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers.