[Papercut Press] 1999-12-14 - American Moses

ď … in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.Ē (1 Timothy 4:12)

Today marks the 200 year anniversary of the death of President George Washington. Washington died on December 14, 1799. His religious convictions and beliefs have been the subject of study, debate, and uncertainty. It is not clear if the man who is most responsible for the founding and establishing of our nation was a Christian.

After his death, Washington became a symbol of national unity. He became known as the founding father of the United States. He became known as the man who led his people out of the slavery of British bondage and into what was then the promised land of America.

Washington was one of the first leaders in America that was held up as an example to follow. Leaders in the church are also, by nature of their being leaders in Christís Church, those who should set an example for others in the church.

There are no leaders in the church who lack experience with sin. We ought to remember that when a leader disappoints us or fails to meet our expectations. Leaders are not flawless people. They struggle just as everyone else does with temptations and are just as prone to fall into a snare or trap as anyone else is.

However, leaders are also to exercise themselves for godliness.(1 Timothy 4:7) They are to be vigilant in their war against sin and unholiness. There are at least three things that a leader should practice to preserve their hearts from sin. These are not, however, only practices for leaders. They are for all those who would be useful in Christís cause in the world.

  1. Prayer. Luther used to say, ďThere are three things that make a minister, prayer, meditation, and temptation.Ē Prayer is the highest and noblest exercise of the soul. It is communion with one that is higher than us and who has the capacity to elevate our souls.

  2. Reading Godís Word. There ought to be, in the leaders of the church, a familiarity with the Bible. Leaders ought to know their Bibles well and be reading them regularly. A leader should never have difficulty finding a particular verse when asked to look it up because they canít find the book of Ruth, or so on. The leader should have a competent knowledge of Scripture.

  3. Faithfulness. Leaders should be an example to others in word, conduct, love, faith, and purity. (1 Timothy 4:12) It is not unreasonable to expect leaders to cultivate the purity of their hearts and consciences more diligently than most others.

May these characteristics be found to be the common practice in us.

ďA leaderís character is the lock of his strength; and, if once this is sacrificed, he is, like Samson shorn of his hair, a poor, feeble, faltering creature, the pity of his friends, and the derision of his enemies.Ē J.A. James

Soli Deo Gloria,