I found, though, that it is easy to compromise the time spent on the Bible Study in order to work on other things or to meet with people, but I need to remember that my primary goal as their leader is to feed them and to teach them, not just to be friends with them and hang out with them (important as those things are). We could be friends anywhere, but we are engaged together in Christian community because we are community around the Word and around the truth, and if this goes, then everything goes and we might as well start a country club. It is so easy to compromise that time spent on preparing the Bible Study because there are so many other things to take care of, but that must not be an excuse. There must be more discipline exercised on my part to set time aside as sacred to spend in preparing the Bible Study and thinking about how that Word applies to the group, thinking about how the body needs to be fed and led by it. This must not be compromised. This must be the main goal of our fellowship. I believe in the deeply reforming power of his Word, and the attractive power of people who have been reformed by it. While lights and shows and games might attract for a time, love always attracts, and the only love that can survive in this evil world is that based on the indestructible life of Christ and the immutable truth of his Word. Lord, help me to remember and to believe this truth in the midst of a world that continues to tell me differently.
I will not compromise on time spent in personal study of the Bible for the purpose of building up the saints. I will not do it. Everything else can fall, but the time in the Word must be priority.
Part of me wonders how much I am trying to be a pastor when I am not one, but then I remember that elders are called to teach and to lead, not because of title or position or salary, but because that is the very core of the disciple-making task. Indeed, if we as a whole church, especially as the men, learned the priority of God’s Word over and above everything else, we would see the reforms popping up naturally. Not effortlessly, but surely they would come as a result of our dedication to God’s truth in the midst of the world’s falsehood.
And so I remain focused and devoted: God’s Word and the teaching of it will be a priority.