The Big Buts of the Bible - #10
Begin to take notice of that little three letter conjunction wherever it appears in the Bible. You will find, as I have, that very often that word stands to demonstrate an important contrast or to bring sharp clarity to a lesson. Most often that little three letter word is worth underlining or circling as you study the scriptures.
So, since the publishers haven’t been calling about my idea (What is wrong with them?), and since David Letterman has made “Top Ten Lists” a cultural phenom, I will offer up my personal “Top Ten Big Buts of the Bible” from the New Testament. In this first installment, consider #10. Let’s take a look at a big but…
1 Peter 5:3
“Not lording it over those who have been entrusted to you, BUT being examples to the flock”
This is a text written to those who would be shepherds over God’s followers; pastors, elders, bishops, teachers, leaders and so on. I believe the lesson is applicable to those in many other roles; parents, mentors, supervisors, coaches, etc. The contrast is one of haughtiness versus humility. We can all recall images of abuse of power and authority. But (there’s that word again), we would all also readily acknowledge that example has been the best influence upon our lives and behavior.
Being an example is costly. It requires an investment of time. Being an example is risky. To really be an example you have to allow others to see you up close and personal – get to know ‘the real you’. Being an example means being willing to be vulnerable. Sometimes we blow it and this means being willing to own the mistake, apologize and allow your handling of it all to be an example as well.
Take a look at a very challenging verse in scripture, Philippians 4:9. Paul says to the church leaders in Philippi: “Whatever you have heard from me; whatever you have seen me do; just do that, and God will be with you.” This is what it means to lead by example. And, as a pastor, parent, mentor, teacher – you name it – how precious it would be to be able to say to those entrusted to our oversight, “just do whatever you’ve seen me do, and you’ll be alright!”