A couple of months ago I had lunch with one of those Yodas–those wise, older pastors who have been in ministry so long they ooze wisdom without knowing it. This gentleman could offer commentary on nearly anything and it would be laced with something helpful. He’s been at the same congregation for more than thirty years, and in ministry for more than thirty-five years.
That takes some doing. It doesn’t just happen. It takes something to live one’s life with integrity in a fish bowl, make the sacrifices full-time ministry asks of you, help grow a church over decades, and still smile a lot—after nearly forty years. Such pastors are my heroes. I hope to be one of them.
A few years ago, I was struck by a news story reporting a fight near the top of Mount Everest between climbers and their Nepalese sherpas. A brawl at more than 25,000 feet, close to the summit (29,029 feet)? You’ve gotta be kidding me.
I’ve hiked Mt. Whitney and know what conditions are like at around 14,500…and the thought of doing that on Mt. Everest is almost nauseating. Even worse, the thought of hikers brawling with the smartest, most experienced, and most resourceful hikers on the mountain—those present only to help them—is ridiculous.
One would think the conditions alone would bring everyone together. One would think cooler heads would prevail and perspective maintained when it’s a matter of life and death.
More than perhaps anything else, who we listen to will determine the trajectory of our ministry. If we listen to godly, wise, smart people who have our best interest and that of the Kingdom at heart, it will leaven our lives and ministries. If we listen to other kinds of people, we can expect a world of trouble.