Friday, May 27, 2016

THE PHYSICALLY FIT PREACHER

A LEADER MUST BE TEMPERATE 
1 Tim 1:8

This old term, usually taken to mean something in relation to the consumption of alcohol, has little meaning in today’s indulgent culture.



The word, which is used only here in this verse in the New Testament, means “strong, robust; having power over.”

Sadly, many leaders have taken this to mean that they are to control the flock over which they have been made overseers. This meaning is so far removed from the reality of what the scripture teaches that it is a shame that it must even be discussed.

No. The robust power is to be exercised over one’s self, bringing the “body into subjection.” (1 Cor. 9:27) In other words, a leader must exemplify a strong self discipline, so that no area of the flesh, nor fleshly desires gain the ascendancy over the person’s life and he or she end up being “a castaway.”

The 1961 hit song by Jimmy Dean, “Big John” had the line “Kinda broad at the shoulder and narrow at the hip…” I recall someone in the early ‘70s talking about most preachers saying, “kinda narrow in the shoulder and broad in the hip.”

In deference to the reality of the life, pastoring is basically a sedentary occupation. So that could excuse some. However, for many, not only is it the sedentary lifestyle, it is also the over-indulgent lifestyle.

Over-indulgence is directly contrary to the requisite ‘temperate’ that Paul says Titus is to require in his candidates for leadership.

This is one of the requirements for which I cannot sit back and cast aspersion on others, for I, myself, am guilty. My advanced age is not an excuse, though it might be considered a reason.

I have classmates from high school who participate in the Senior Olympics, who have been able to maintain their athleticism all these years without caving in to the softness of the times.

I also know that it is possible for me to regain some of my own athletic ability, if I could just “put my mind to it.” I have yet to find that element of will power necessary to “bring my body into subjection” so as to keep it under my control, rather than letting it control me.

I have allowed myself to become addicted to sweets. The resultant ‘crashes’ have necessitated more ‘rest’ than I otherwise would need. That ‘rest’ cuts into my time for some necessary duties. Losing that time results in feeling guilty that I have not accomplished all that I intended. The guilt feeling drives me to some sort of comfort food. And the cycle repeats itself.

So, in this place, at least, I am not qualified to lead God’s people out of the kitchen, let alone into the Kingdom of God.

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