When we were in Shillong, India, Reuben Pradhan told us about a missionary he knew who traveled into the jungle to visit a tribe that had recently been introduced to the gospel. This tribe had been fairly untouched by modern civilization. They wore nothing but loin cloths as they came to greet the new visitor from far away. But then the missionary noticed that one of them stood out from the rest for one reason. He also was naked from the neck down except for the traditional loin cloth, but he was proudly wearing a tie! The missionary was incredulous. “Why is that man wearing a tie?” he asked his host. “Oh,” was the reply, “He’s the pastor!”
It seems that where religion is concerned, truth is stranger than fiction. I’ve known of several instances where “pastors” intending to start a house church have filled a living room with a pulpit and a sound system including floor speakers powerful enough to address a park outreach.
These examples of misplaced emphasis may seem extreme, yet they only represent the logical conclusion of the tendency of religion to focus on the outward non-essentials. Today “spiritual leaders” are crumbling all around us because they lack the qualities necessary to be an example to others. A charismatic personality, a silver tongue, a bible college education, administrative gifts, leadership skills and the ability to inspire people are as useless as a tie in the jungle if one is lacking a Christ like character. On the other hand, one may be lacking in everything else named above and be very effective in helping others grow in their relationship with Father.
Many people are truly longing to know him, but their reference point has been “spiritual leaders” who point them in the wrong direction. Blind guides leading the blind. Yet there are others that make no claim of being leaders who love him and are learning to trust him more each day. They are allowing Christ to be formed within them. They’re pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of them. I meet them everywhere I go, and in some cases they feel that they’re not “doing anything for God.” I want to encourage all those that feel that way to keep leaning into Father. You’re a joy to his heart and will yet see the fruit of your relationship with him birthed in others. And when those who are truly seeking him find you, you’ll be able to say, “Come and see.”