“This very day, every man—whether a global leader or an unknown tradesman—has an opportunity to show the world that the gospel does not kill pleasure or aggressiveness. Rather, as [Jonathan] Edwards has shown, it frees Christians to experience true pleasure and to act in manly ways for a far greater cause than ourselves. We grieve the trajectory of modern men, and we feel special pain for the wives and children who are, through no fault of their own, deeply damaged by the sins of men. In a broken world, we pray to God to show the world a better way, a greater joy, and a magnificent Savior, who delights in taking sinful men and turning them into agents of his glory.”
I remember reading a page in Steve Farrar's book that I have never forgotten. He talks of the capacity of Christians to sin, fail and fall- particularly with regard to sexual sin and adultery. He deals too in the book with abusive leaders and those who get seduced by money and power. He ends the page saying that if you have read it and you think that this could never happen to you, then you are exactly the person it is likely to happen to. It could happen to me- I have no doubt of that. I have just ordered a few copies of Farrar's book to give to friends and people at church and for myself as I have recently given my copy away. I have also got on the phone and email a pal or two and see how they are doing.
Someone I looked to (from afar) and have been taught the Bible by has felt compelled this week to resign his church, ministry and is under the 'Clergy Discipline Measure'. I have no idea of the details and they don't really matter and my prayers are for him and his family. However, I do know that he was meant to 'Finish strong' and tragically, for whatever reason, hasn't.
This year, I have heard more accounts of struggles in leadership and with sin in the lives of church leaders than I have in all the years since I have been ordained. As a result, we have called an interim meet-up of 'Men on Mountains' to check how we are all doing. I know myself pretty well and know how easily I too could fall and disappoint and mess it all up. Indeed, that would be almost inevitable without the friends I have in my corner dusting me down and looking me in the eye and checking I'm OK. Grace and humility is the Jesus way. I so need more grace and more humility if I am to have any chance of 'Finishing Strong'.
Pray for me. I need it. We all do.