Raise the bar, don’t put it on the ground!
Christian preachers and teachers have always been my heroes. Women and men, called of God and set apart by the church for the work of ministry.
My life has been richly blessed by these “saints in tennis shoes.” I was always aware that, like me, they were frail humans saved by God’s grace. Yet, they were my spiritual inspiration to always rise higher and to always do better. Nearly all of them would shudder at the thought of being called a “saint”, yet each one would echo the words of the apostle Paul, “follow me as I follow Christ.”
Christian preachers and teachers have a great responsibility to set the highest standards possible for others to emulate. Many folks become turned off or disillusioned when we allow Christian ethical and moral behavior to become substandard.
The bar of expectation for Christian pastors and teachers should be high. God’s standard has not and will not change. It is not accidental that the priestly garments of Aaron were topped off with a mitre / hat that said, “Holy to the Lord.” This statement was a constant reminder to Aaron and to the people of God of the sacred responsibility entrusted and invested in him, and indeed, in all those who would follow in his footsteps.
God calls each of us to be holy! To be “holy” is to be set apart by God for a specific purpose. To be “holy” is to love God with all of one’s heart, soul, mind and strength. To be “holy” is to love one’s neighbor and to prioritize the needs of others before seeking one’s own fulfillment. To be “holy” is to recognize, like John the Baptist, that Jesus must increase, and we must decrease.
Holiness is never about exalting oneself or promoting an agenda cloaked in egocentric behavior. Christians are called, and assisted by the Holy Spirit, to lift-up and maintain the highest standards possible.
I urge you sisters and brothers to reach for the bar that has been set by Jesus Christ. Let us renounce, refuse, reject, and rid ourselves of any and every standard that falls short of Christlikeness. WE just may be the only Jesus some folks will ever see!