The past 2 weeks I have been teaching a “mini-series” on Stewardship. It has been a great series, with tons of great response. As I have studied and prepared for this series God spoke very clearly to me. He brought to mind a verse that is often ignored by pastors and leaders. This one verse really calls men that lead into accountability and a standard to ensure integrity and health. So, what is it?
“Keep a close watch on yourself and the teaching. Persist in this, for by doing so you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16 ESV
This is a pretty strong charge from Paul. It is telling us to be sure our lives and our teaching line up with each other. It means that we need to “practice what we preach”. The sad reality in today’s evangelical, cutting edge church world is that many pastors do not incorporate this verse as part of their lives! They see their role as the teacher/entertainer and not much more. Their role is to make plans, share ideas, preach good sermons, look good, be popular and successful. But, often this comes at the cost of their personal lives. Their families and their health suffer. They are not a well-rounded leader. They also find ways to justify their actions in some sort of “holy exemption” from sins. This is a very unhealthy pratice.
A good example, and the very thing I am passionate about, is the guy who teaching tithing and doesn’t tithe. Or the guy who teaches about honoring your spouse, and has never honored his own spouse. How about the guy who talks about being healthy, but weighs 900 pounds! Where’s the balance?
The reality is that while people like to follow the trendy, popular guy; they also like to follow the healthy balanced guy as well. People want to know that they are following at “what you see is what you get” kind of leader.
As pastors we need to live out this verse with strong intentionality. We need to write this verse on our hearts and let is simmer in our souls. The people in our church should expect this very thing, and hold us accountable to it. We should be earnestly seeking to honor Christ through making sure our lives and our doctrine are in sync.
So, is your life in sync with what you teach? Do you work hard to live out the charge Paul has given in this verse?
My answer is yes, but only the people who watch my life know whether it is true!