“My main word is, as Stephen F. Olford has often said, that ‘we belong in the study not in the office.’ The symbol of our ministry is a Bible, not a telephone. We are ministers of the Word, not administrators, and we need to relearn the question of priority in every generation.”
These words are attributed to John Stott, who recently went home to be with the Lord. How true these words are.
Where the clergyman once held a position of honour in the community, we now find ourselves tempted to grasp for respectability and credibility. So there is a temptation to try to look like the respected folks of the community. They have increasing education, so we are tempted to flaunt ours, or get extra degrees for the wrong reasons. They have manic lives, so we are tempted to run around like mad folks looking for an ulcer (who would respect a preacher who is able to choose serenity over stress?) They have offices, mobile phones and permanent contactability, so we feel we can do no other.
What difference would it make if we stopped playing the busy professional and renewed our commitment to a different calling, to the ministry of the Word and prayer? If our gut reaction to this idea is to fear loss of credibility, or loss of income, or loss of support from those who think they hold us accountable . . . then we are making decisions out of fear rather than faith. What does God want of us? Acts 6:4 is worth pondering in prayer. Let’s ask Him what He thinks.