I met a gentleman the other day. His name and the circumstance of our interaction will remain unstated. His voice made me itch. His words were as long as a well-told lie and his quips carried on dizzily. The beginning of a sentence had little to do with how it ended and the contradictions and irony within them were simply astounding. I won’t use the h-word (hypocrisy) because I feel that his heart leans in the right direction, but there is still a major void between his understanding of the Bible and actual understanding of faith. I almost feel bad in this critique because it would appear that my heart is unhealthy for having these thoughts. I want to be clear, though – It is because of these thoughts that have rambled in my head for the past two days that I feel my heart actually is healthy. . I have felt God pressing me to write, and to explain my point of view; my interpretation. Take it or leave it.
I’ve vetted the poor man in my thoughts with such scrutiny for the past fort-eight hours because I have become frustrated with the abuse of the Christian label. Let me first provide my resume as a sinner. I am far from perfect. Believe me… very far.
I was present in a room where a man answered a question with a response to an entirely different, unasked question. He was quick to describe his experience as a leader, and his knowledge of the Bible. That’s a good thing, right? I’d say so. But think for a moment about how useful knowledge of the Bible is if there is no passion for its message.. Imagine a person who maintains an occupation in which he or she is not devoted to the task or mission – he or she only knows the information needed to get by. The worker will earn their wage by performing only what is necessary. There’s no passion for the product. In this situation, a customer will be less enthused about the good or service and will likely only sign on and purchase if the product is something that is a known necessity or is something needed out of pure desperation. So let’s break it down in a Biblical sense- we can have knowledge of the Bible… we can know it backward and forward. We can fire off verses like a fourth of July show and we can flip through the pages like pros. But do we remember what happened to the customer greeted by the employee with no passion for their job?
I fear that un-churched people are constantly met by passionless pretension. The gentleman that I continue to berate was knowledgeable about the Bible… he had courage to speak (sometimes too much). He is a leader, but I fear that his claim of faith could scare people away, especially if they’re considering giving Jesus a chance.
I constantly find myself asking “why?” Literally – about everything – and this is one of those things. Why? This man spoke at length about the importance of not speaking at length. Pause. I continue to be frustrated by individuals that seem to have no regard for those pursuing Christ for the first time. We can know the Bible, but we need to be passionate about the product as well. We have something that saves lives, yet we hoard it like a child unable to share his or her toys. It’s not just for us. It’s for everyone.
How about this- I want to express what I feel to be the importance of leadership, with an emphasis on being a kindling for the growth of faith in Christ.
- Be humble. If you seek to lead by impressing people with who you are, inevitably people will feel inferior.
- Ask questions. The Socratic method seems to be a place where true conversation and the beginnings of relation not only occur, but thrive.
- Finally, ask yourself this catchy little question: “What would Jesus do?” Yep, I said it! W.W.J.D. Though I think that phrase could go through some form of major re-branding, the concept is pure gold. Seriously ask yourself, “what would He do!?
As for what Jesus would do? I think he makes the harder decisions. I think he believes in the best that people have to offer. He never took the easy way. He wasn’t jaded, and he forgives. He was patient, kind, never envious, nor boastful, and he stepped away from pride.
If we want to lead people, and be an example, we have to be a people that others want to become. We need to listen, and have humility. We need to forgive, and respect people. In speaking candidly with my mother about the topic, she mentioned a summary of my message in only a few words. “You can’t genuinely help others if your only interest is in helping yourself.” We truly need to leave pride behind. Ill finish by using a quote that I’ve read often and that has had a major influence on my young mind. C.S. Lewis says- “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”