Thank God for Gracious Elders

1 Chronicles 7-8

Okay...yes...the Bible can get slow and horribly boring at times to our modern minds. Sections like these remind me of all the times in the past when I leagalisticlly forced myself through similar texts. The begats will get ya if you're not careful. I remember thinking things like,

"I was so looking forward to being in God's word today...damn it...more geneologies! How am I ever gonna get through all this?! Maybe I should skip it and get to the good stuff."

Of course the next thought was something like:

"You disgusting miserable sinner have you lost your taste for the word, how will God ever use you!"

Yeah. I can get weird with myself at times. I like to think I've gotten better about this sort of thing over the years but I find it to still be true that it's easy to approach the scriptures with an overbearing positional authority that uses guilt, shame and legalism as motivators.

On the other hand, during my early years as a minister I found myself at a leadership event where an elderly pastor "caught" me reading from long section of begats in the Bible.

Full confession I wasn't actually reading it, I was using it as a prop. You need to understand, at the time I felt like an impostor (I still do on many days) but during those days I think it was insecurity that led me to that opinion of myself. I knew God had called me but here I was sitting among spiritual giants...eventually they'll know I'm a fraud I thought. In the meantime, I'll look busy and spiritual by always having my bible open, maybe if I look like I am studying none of these older folks will talk with me or question me, that's the plan, head down in the scriptures, you don't even need to be reading them DAN, just look like you are, keep a couple of different colored pens closeby and appear to be lost in study. Underline some stuff. Oh, meanwhile in the midst of that anxiety do not forget that you should also be rehearsing your prepared theological answers so that when one of these older folks asks the questions that you know are coming you might be ready...are you ready Dan? As, if Christ himself was about to pop out with a surprise pop quiz and ask me how my perspective on entire sanctification compares to my point of view on penal substitution and could I write a 5000 word essay before the end of the retreat.

So, anyway, in the middle of that religious tomfoolery an elderly pastor walked by and pushed through my spiritual fakery...he saw the geneolgy I was "reading" and he said something that changed my life.

He said...

(with the all letters behind his name, with the Ordination Credentials hanging on his wall at home, with his peers present, with his big church funding his leadership retreat where we were studying the Bible, with the District Superintendent nearby and all of the underlying pressure that Christian leaders put on things like Quiet Time, Memorization, etc.)

He said...

"I skip those."