More on Mastery

So, having touched on the thought of “Mystery before Mastery but not without Mastery” you’ve probably already realized some of the downsides if you get this one backwards.

Part of the pressure we face as pastors is “to be an example to all” – which we probably think is biblical… well it sort of is and sort of isn’t. If we have a modern mindset which says performance, efficiency and results are primary, then we equate being an example to “having it all together” – i.e. we need to “master” this life of faith we lead, and be examples of how to “master” the Christian life.

But here’s what I think….. Paul encouraged Timothy to be an example, but qualified it by saying “let your growth be evident to all”. In other words, Timothy was to be an example of growth and following Jesus, not an example of mastery. This allows mystery to come before mastery and takes a whole lot of pressure off Timothy.

Pastors feel like their authority or “platform” or “right to speak into others’ lives” comes from their mastery. But here’s the kicker. We’re no more spiritual than anyone else (we all have the holy spirit living in us), we may be more or less mature than others in certain areas and we may be no less weaker or stronger than anyone else… But we have been called to be an example. In other words, I think God has a call on our lives to be put in a fish bowl, so people can watch us grow and follow Jesus and in doing so are encouraged, inspired and strengthened to growth in their own life.

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2 Responses

  1. I like it.

    So Paul was saying that the world is more interested (and in need of) our truthful (dare I say holy?) reactions rather than our pre-meditated onward-christian-soldier actions?

    Looking back, this rings true to me. Time and time again. My honest god-seeking vulnerability has always been met with curiosity, openness and respect. Conversely, the times where I have really tried to prove to everyone (myself included) that I’VE GOT IT ALL TOGETHER, SO FOLLOW MY EXAMPLE … not so much.

    Or maybe I’m just not a ‘leaders’ ring hole. 😀

    That’s ok, too, though.

    I was on my hands and knees ripping up old turf in my back yard yesterday, just thinking. I got to thinking about church across the ages and had a personal epiphany. It seems to me that ‘clergy’ or ‘priesthood’ was the worst best idea the christian church ever conceived (well borrowed, really). It sort of served to eliminate much of the subversiveness, danger, risk and vitality of the early church and those ingredients are some of what made it such a potent force.

    It took a very organic and viral community and put structure around it. Well intentioned structure, I’m sure.

    Ultimately we just created a new religion out of the fruit of god’s attempt to disarm the prevailing religion(s).

    How very human of us…

  2. yeah Dan spot on. The world is not interested in our performance which pretty much sucks anyway. And yep the clergy was a really baaaaad idea. It made people who serve God into “professionals” who make a career of it.

    And yes, we have taken a potent, viral community and neutered it, but if we can undo it, look out!

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