In my many years involved in ministry, I have been asked many religious questions. That's only natural. Folks know that I have been to school to learn about the Bible and that I spend a large part of my week studying the Bible. It's natural that folks would use me as a reference source. I never mind when that happens, as long a folks understand that I am only a human interpreter of the Word and not the ultimate source of truth. I don't know everything and I DO make mistakes. However, I do have a problem when people use me as a source simply because they are lazy or don't want to stretch themselves spiritually to learn what God's Word says.
I like the following story which folks have shared a number of times with me.
A grandmother writes, "I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me, and always she was correct. But it was fun for me, so I continued. At last as we headed towards the exit she said sagely, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these colors yourself!"
Let me give you the inside story about preachers, elders, deacons, writers, speakers, lecturers, and other church leaders! They are human. They do not have all of the answers and the answers they have are not always right. They sometimes make mistakes. Occasionally they use bad judgment and sometimes are involved in sin!
This is not a new problem for our century or to humankind. Notice what Jesus had to say about the religious leaders of his day:
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the Scriptures. So practice and obey whatever they say to you, but don't follow their example. For they don't practice what they teach."
Spiritual questions are never bad. I usually welcome them when I get them. However, I would much rather people practice what I preach than what I live! I don't live out all the answers I know and I don't have all of the answers. However, I do know the one who does know all the answers!
OK, so how does this fit into the story about the grandma who doesn't know her colors? Well, the conclusion is the same for both issues: "I think you should try to figure out some of these things for yourself sometimes."
It is written: "As surely as I live," says the Lord, "every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God." So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God." (Romans 14:11-12 NIV)
Or as another translation puts that last phrase, "each of us will have to give a personal account to God" (NLT). So, it really doesn't matter what someone else tells us; it comes down to us personally and how we answer the questions for ourselves, doesn't it?
So what do YOU think?
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