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From the Pastor’s Pen                        November 11, 2015

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

    and do not rely on your own insight.

 

In all your ways acknowledge God,

    and God will make straight your paths.”

                                    Proverbs 3:5-6

I’m curious about something. Do you have to be charming, good looking and well-dressed in order to lead? Observing recent political debates, I wonder how Abraham Lincoln would have scored as a comedian. Could he have held his own on Saturday Night Live? A certain charisma would have made Teddy Roosevelt popular, but it’s less certain how others might have fared.

For most of our voting history, we would have known more about what candidates thought and how candidates led in business, the military or industry than in how entertaining they were on television.

One thing seems certain. God uses all sorts of folks who probably couldn’t get elected to political office to do great things. Moses killed an Egyptian for treating a Hebrew slave too harshly, and he ran from justice. In exile, he created another life, before God encountered him at the burning bush and sent him back to face Pharaoh. His speech impediment would have made him unsuitable for prime time.

David became an epic hero when as an adolescent he killed the enemy Goliath in battle with a sling-shot and a stone. However, I doubt that he would have been re-elected by a voting public today, when as King he killed the husband of the beautiful woman next door to cover up his sexual indiscretions.

We don’t have any way to know if Jesus was charming, or funny or well-dressed, though the Bible does tell us that he was not comely (handsome) that we should look at him. Isn’t it interesting that everything we know about him comes from the accounts of those who witnessed his work, observed his behavior, and remembered his teaching?

I once overheard a colleague tell his children who were struggling with a problem at school: “we’re Christian, we’re not like other people.” It seemed odd at the time, but I knew his character and heart well enough to know he was not dismissing their concern with the consolation that we’re God’s favorites. As we later discussed what he had meant, it became clear that he wanted to teach his children to listen first for God’s guidance and to trust Jesus’ teachings about what matters most. He wanted them to grow up to lead as Kingdom people, regardless of whether they were President of the country or the PTA. He wanted them to act with conviction even when it wasn’t popular, or attractive or charming.

It’s anybody’s guess at this point how the election for President of the United States will turn out. But I wonder whether the candidate’s pre-school teachers saw something special in them, or if their fourth grade Sunday school teacher suspected they would amount to something. I wonder what it would be like if they all quit talking, and counted on the references of those who have worked for them and alongside them to accomplish things for good. It would be interesting to do a blind read of their college papers and their resumes without respect for their name or photo or gender or video footage to persuade us of their merit. Perhaps in the silence we could hear the voice of God and more faithfully discern the one called to lead for God’s purposes, in this place, for our time.

Prayer: Mighty God, maker of heaven and earth, I know, that you know, that I want what you want. But it is so tempting to follow other gods of my own making. Give me sufficient trust, to listen to your voice, and the courage to do your will. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Pastor Verlee