Posts Tagged ‘1 corinthians’

As stated in my previous post, The Lord has greatly convicted me as a Pastor that there were things in my life I needed change. Much of it centered around bad habits, excuses and lack of disciple in regards to what went in my body and the fat that I was putting on. He then brought to mind at least four areas that confirmed why change was desperately needed.

The first area is the area of health. This should be the obvious one. Health is so obvious when it comes to the idea of putting on fat. We know fat is bad therefore we shouldn’t get fat. Yet, this knowledge does not seem to affect many of us like it should.

Think about it, if you have been around the church for any time at all, you know the verses found in 1 Corinthians 6.19-20 where it says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

These two verse have been used for years as proof texts for those who wish to preach against smoking and drinking from the pulpit (understand I am not recommending you pick either of these habits up). They will rail on sinful lifestyles and bad habits all in the name of protecting the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is rather ironic that this occurs when you consider that some research shows that 77% of male pastors are considered to be overweight (statistics are cited on sowhatfaith.com in the article “Overweight Pastors”.

Don’t drink or smoke because it harms the temple say the fat guys! Well, as a pastor, I too have at different moments mentioned bad habits that people form that directly affect their health. I have cautioned people to be careful not to become a slave to something that can harm their body because they only get one body. All the while I was packing on the weight myself and eating things that were horrible for me and nearly never exercising.

Is anybody noticing an inconsistency here? Well, God convicted me in a mighty way. Health is a huge deal. Did you know that studies have shown that more liver damage is done by obesity than alcohol and that studies have indicated that obesity leads to more doctors visits than smoking? Perhaps, pastors, we should start modeling a life of discipline in regards to what we put in our bodies before we tell others to guard what they put in their bodies. (I believe Jesus called that pulling the log out. I am now desperately trying to yank out the log)

If we read the entire context of 1 Corinthians 6.19 we also must read things like “you are not your own” and “you have been bought with a price” and “therefore glorify God in your body.” What I take from this is that when I harm the “Temple” of the Holy Spirit then I am being a poor steward of something that is not mine. Poor health, when it is a choice equals poor stewardships.

I know pastors who were not able to completely fulfill ministry duties due to health related to obesity. I was headed that direction with an extremely unhealthy view towards food that involved a whole lot of fast food and pizza. I was on the path to harming my calling. I refuse to allow my calling from God to be a victim of my poor choices (this calling involves my marriage, my kids and my ministry). I have chosen to prioritize my health over my cravings because I crave God more than food.

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I just pounded this out while sitting at my desk following some time of personal contemplation.  Nothing here is overly earth shattering but I thought I would share it nonetheless.   

Leadership is not the outcome of a title.  Just because I have the title pastor does not make me a leader.  My title only means that people trust me enough to follow me is I should choose to lead.  Yet the title and position in and of itself does not equate leadership.

If I were to define what it means to be a leader and was told only to use one word, I would use the word influence.  Far too many “leaders” wish to demonstrate they are leaders by telling you that they are leaders.  Reality is, if you have to tell me you are a leader, you probably aren’t.  If you were showing me that you are a leader by how you lived your life in the first place, then you would not have to tell me. 

Many people who hold a leadership position believe they must be followed because of their title.  I firmly disagree.  There are many leaders that I will never follow.  There are men and woman that I would never allow to influence my life as a leader.  Yet, I would respect their title and position. 

The question I pose of myself on a regular basis is how am I influencing others?  Can they see things in my life that are worth replicating in theirs?  I am not saying that I want a bunch of miniature Jon Goodwins running around.  What I am saying is that I regularly ask myself if I just have a title or if I am living my title out.  I don’t want people to say, “oh he’s a pastor” just as a reference to my job.  I want them to realize it encompasses my entire life and the title defines who I am and not just what I do.  A true leader embodies their title.  Do you? 

A great example of a man who embodied his title is the apostle Paul.  He writes to the church or Corinth in the 1 Corinthians 4.16 “Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.”  He basically repeats himself again in 1 Corinthians 11.1 where he says, “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.”  Then in the book of Philippians he writes, “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us” (Phil. 3.17). 

Now Paul might be seen by some as an arrogant man.  But a careful study of his life will show that he was man worth following.  He was a man worth following not because he held the title: apostle.  He was man worth following because his life was in alignment with his title.  The man owned his mission and therefore earned the right of leading his followers and telling them to follow his example. 

While you I may never tell people to follow our examples, it is implied because we choose to be leaders.  Because it is implied we must therefore strive for excellence in all that we do.  Failing to lead is no longer an option because it affects more than just you and me.  It affects all who look to us as leaders.

So as I write this, I would urge myself and whoever else might be reading this to own our title.  Whether is being a mom, dad, pastor, town board member, school teacher, business owner or captain of a sports team own it and live it.  Provide an example that is worth following.  Remember it is not your title that makes you great, rather is what you choose to do with it.