imitators of me, even as I imitate Christ."
~ The apostle Paul
1 Cor 11:1 (cf. 1 Cor 4:16; 1 Thess 1:6)
don't mind when they knock on the door. OK -- I do mind!
bothers me when salespeople show up on my doorstep. They have products I
don't need at prices I usually can't afford. They want to sign me up or
sell me something that rarely works out well. The Kirby salesman was
drunk and belligerent (yes, why did we let him in?) and the magazine
subscriptions just pile up because I have no time to read them.
people perceive the church through the same lens. "Sign 'em up;
provide a flimsy product; take their cash." It's not a flattering
image; nor is it universally true. But church growth and evangelism,
when separated from serious discipleship, can look suspiciously like
of this raises a question to consider. Are our churches raising up
statesmen or spiritual salesmen?
are men and women of consistent and quality character, deep godly
roots, who model lives and values to which we aspire. Their presence
among us is a gift to us. They seek no personal gain but serve the
greater cause of humanity. We look to them not to worship them but to
emulate them. They walk closely with Christ and habitually deflect
attention away from themselves. They wear humility comfortably. I've
know a few such folk, and they inspire me.
model maturity, speak wisdom in gentle and measured words, and have
moved beyond the drive of ambition, success, and power.
seem to be short on statesmen and high on salesmen.
don't self-promote. Salesmen tend to. Statesmen embrace contentment.
Salesmen compete. Statesmen wait on Christ and find their security in
Him. Salesmen rush ahead, lost in urgency, busyness ... and
are the statesmen? Of course, as we wonder we might also ask "Why
am I not one?" and "What am I doing to support or nurture
one?" Is it possible that the church has settled for something
short of godliness, Christlikeness, and maturity?
not suggesting that we don a veneer of false-spirituality. There's
plenty of that already and veneers chip, crack, and quickly reveal what
lies beneath. I'm looking for "the real deal." Are we willing
to embrace the discipline, the correction, the mentoring, and the cost
to become "the real deal" ourselves? Statesmanship apparently
doesn't just happen.