The "List"

So I received an e-mail a couple of weeks ago from one of the guys I go to church with.  He, in my opinion, is an upstanding young man that is one of the great leaders in our church.  (and I'm not saying that because he will read this) 
He sent out an e-mail to all of the guys from the church about how they have done this year on being leaders and elders in their own homes and in their own lives.  Well, like I said I got the e-mail a couple of weeks ago.  I have been milling it over for a while.  I have looked at the list and nearly deleted it about 5-6 times because I knew the answers to all, ALL, of the questions.  It is not a good sign…(hence the wanting to delete the e-mail so many times).  But still, I needed to look and check myself against these biblical markers for being a “Pastor” of your own home.  The scriptures come from 1 Timothy 3, Titus, and 1 Peter 5.
Well, I e-mailed him back just a few minutes ago.  It was pretty much at that point that I was dead set on blogging about this.  There is just too much at stake here. 
So the more I looked at the list of characteristics and answered them truthfully, the more I became angry and hard-hearted about how angry and hard-hearted I have become.  I will point out a few of these things that I am talking about (just so there is a frame of reference…)  Actually, I am just going to “Pony Up” and cut and paste the whole thing.  Why hide anything?!?  If I do, then I continue a lie that I continue to live.
-Above Reproach – not hardly.  I am more harsh and brash since working with the Village guys.  I have learned that I lack compassion and have very little love and kindness in my message.
-Not under compulsion to serve, but voluntary – rarely do I feel like volunteering to do anything – I can't blame it on anything but my cruddy attitude.
-The husband of one wife – except for the occasional thoughts…well, I guess it isn't as good as it seems.  Can't justify sin, can I?
-Not out for sordid gain, but serving with eagerness – serving with eagerness?  nope.  again, that is rare. I am not out for vicious or ill-gotten gain, but I am, honestly, not very eager to serve.
-Prudent – i don't think that I am wise in much of any way. 
-Not self-willed – in some instances I am truly not self-willed.  I really do want to help. 
-Respectable – I don't respect myself…how could anyone else
-Not quick tempered – I think I blew that one up when I killed my guitar some months back.  Not a strong point.
-Not lording over those in his authority, but proving to be examples – jury is still out on this one. I haven't figured out the meaning yet.
-Hospitable – again, no compassion.  not very hospitable…or approachable for that matter
-Not addicted to wine – i do well on this one, but then again, i don't really like alcohol.  it is pretty easy.  no brownie points here.
-Able to teach – i cannot honestly teach what I do not live.  so, no…i dont' think so.
-Not pugnacious – I had to look it up…I didn't get a passing grade on this one.
-Not fond of sordid gain – there is not much to gain for me
-Gentle – nope…my words are seldom life-giving anymore…truth be told
-Lover of what is good – at the end of the day…yes.
-Uncontentious – not hardly.  i am rarely without some contention, whether internal or external
-Sensible – most days…no. 
-Free from the love of money – for the most part…yes. 
-Just – i am not very partial to any one person.  I get short and ill-tempered at most everyone.
-Manages his household well – nope…never there to manage.
-Devout – honestly?  nope.  I don't ANY time for being devout…or so I convince myself… 
-Not a new convert – no, but i sure do act like a new convert sometimes.
-Self controlled – not much.  as the cliche goes, “I wear my heart on my sleeve” but my sleeve is VERY angry.
-A good reputation with those outside the church – don't think so.  People say good things, but I don't think there is any real good things to be said. 
-Holds fast the faithful Word—both to exhort and to refute – I refute more than anything.  i butt heads with just about anyone about anything these days. 
So what brings this about?  Why this openness?  Well, I was just taking a glance in 1 Timothy when I started reading the e-mail just a while ago.  When it mentions about Hymenaeus and Alexander and that they “shipwrecked” their faith…it caught my attention.  I don't think I am too far away from absolutely just chucking my faith out of the window.  I mean, I would never do that, but as the New Testament is full of examples, it is easy for “Christians” to assume that they are still “living their faith” but, in fact, they are just going through the motions to get their “10 year pin…” the outward “accomplishments that make them “look” like a good Christian, but the truth is that they couldn't be farther from the truth of a real Christian. 
I see examples each and every day of men in leadership around me.  I get to see their ups and downs.  I get to see their “everyday” self.  I don't place them on a pedestal far above me.  I look at them in the eye and my heart grows full of heartbreak.  These men go through life's toils and drama and respond well (mostly) and then I look at myself.  Some days I just watch them without saying a word and at the end of the day I tell myself that being a pastor is in NO way a desire for me…especially after they are treated the way some of these men get treated.  But then again, God is calling me to the same thing.  Shall I just gird my loins and “Pony Up” as I say?  Why don't i study and seek God's truth like these men?  Why?  Simple.  I am afraid.  I lack the “intestinal fortitude” to stand up and be counted.  On paper, Revelation's 144,000 men sound pretty flippin' awesome.  But step back and think about what that means.  All the crap those men have to go through to get there.  Am I even designed to be one of those men?  EVERYTHING in me says, “you will NEVER make it!!!”  Most days, I accept those lies.  I am thankful that our leaders don't believe that non-sense. 
I don't think I will ever add up the measures that God has set up in the scriptures.  While I have some days that I lack the energy to try to get as close to this as possible, that is always, and I do mean ALWAYS what I desire.  I fail every honkin' day.  If it isn't one thing it is another, but as long as God gives me breath in my lungs, I will try.  And the days I lack the energy…well, if I look that way, you just swiftly swat your foot at my hind-quarters and let me know that you notice. 
The truth is still the truth whether it is painful or comforting.  Truth me…alright?

Author: ProdigalMike

Follower of Jesus Christ. Husband of one woman. Father of four. Worshipper. God has been continually molding me into a worship leader over the last 21 years. I am on a musical journey with my family to become more like Christ. Join in!

One thought on “The "List"”

  1. Thanks dude. Your honesty is refreshing and calls me to take an honest look at myself too. I sure could use an accountability brother who knows me and can read through my subtle lies. Give me a ring sometime, I\’d be happy to be an ear for you. Later Bro.


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