I’ve done 5,000 zoom calls over these past few months.
You probably have too. On a recent one, someone asked me this pivotal question:
“Jeanne, if a microphone were put in your hands and you were told that you could communicate any message to the Christian leadership world, but you could only use one sentence, what would you say?”
My answer? It’s pretty simple,and only three words:
FIGHT FOR CHARACTER.
I think that Christ-honoring character is truly the “biggest win” we can have in our entire ministry run. It’s not in trendy, unique, or provocative. I’m just convinced it makes the heart of Jesus smile like almost nothing else we can do as leaders.
Let’s unpack Romans 5:3-4 in light of that goal. It reads: “We also glory in our sufferings and tests because we know that suffering produces PERSEVERANCE. And perseverance produces CHARACTER. And our character eventually gives us HOPE.”
As we chase after the lofty goal of character, allow me to first describe an acquaintance of mine. He’s a guy who works for the public parks department here in Atlanta. His job? He is stationed at a specific location in the park where he greets the guests while holding an historic lantern.
I think that Christ-honoring character is truly the “biggest win” we can have in our entire ministry run.Click to tweet
I’ve watched this guy for years, and he’s unbelievable. He’s always smiling, though his mundane job doesn’t warrant that kind of joy. He’s still smiling whether its 98 degrees outside or it’s pouring down rain. Circumstances just don’t seem to impact his mood. I’ve seen people walk past him and act in highly disrespectful ways. But he doesn’t spout back at them—he just continues to smile and greet.
Who is this acquaintance of mine? You’re probably ahead of me—he is a statue at St. Mountain National Park, located near our home.
Why do I tell you this story? The word used in Romans 5 for “character” is the same word also used in other places for “statue.” Character, in the early languages, is translated: “Fixed, predictable, a statue.”
So what’s one of my “biggest wins” in life and ministry? I think it’s to display consistent Christian character (the kind Romans 5 talks about) despite our often challenging surroundings and circumstances.
There’s only one big problem with this analogy. What’s it take to create a statue? It often involves a block that is “pounded upon” by the hands of a skillful sculptor. Every time the sculptor hits the block, it appears to be losing parts of itself. Just like us…
Like many of you, I’ve experienced many disappointing setbacks—even today. So this morning, as I was whining to the Lord in prayer, I heard Him softly whisper: “Jeanne, right now are you more of a BLOCK or more of a STATUE?”
I hope your answer was “prettier” than mine.
Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash