The kind of man I want to be

In the light of my previous post,  I came across this story on the Evangelical Times website.  The last line resounded with me!

“In 1966 I joined Operation Mobilization for a year of ministry in France, but spent two years in India instead. While in London that summer, at the one-month OM orientation, I volunteered to work on a clean-up crew late one night.

Around 12:30am I was sweeping the front steps of the Conference Centre when an older gentleman approached and asked if this was the OM conference. I told him it was, but almost everyone was in bed.

He had a small bag with him and was dressed very simply. He said he was attending the conference, so I said, ‘Let me see if I can find you a place to sleep’. Since there were many different age groups at OM, I thought he was an older OMer.

I took him to the room where I had been sleeping on the floor with about fifty others and, seeing that he had nothing to sleep on, laid some padding and a blanket on the floor and used a towel for a pillow. He said it would be fine and he appreciated it very much.

As he was preparing for bed, I asked him if he had eaten. He had not as he had been travelling all day. I took him to the dining room but it was locked. So after picking the lock I found cornflakes, milk, bread, butter and jam — all of which he appreciated very much.

As he ate and we began to fellowship, I asked where he was from. He said he and his wife had been working in Switzerland for several years in a ministry mainly to hippies and travellers. It was wonderful to talk with him and hear about his work and those who had come to Christ. When he finished eating, we turned in for the night.

However, the next day I was in trouble! The leaders of OM really ‘got on my case’. ‘Don’t you know who that man is on the floor next to you?’ they asked. ‘It is Dr Francis Schaeffer, the speaker for the conference!’

I did not know they were going to have a speaker, nor did I know who Francis Schaeffer was, nor did I know they had a special room prepared for him!

After Francis Schaeffer became well known because of his books, and I had read more about him, I thought about this occasion many times — this gracious, kind, humble man of God sleeping on the floor with OM recruits! This was the kind of man I wanted to be.”

(HT: Paul Levy)

If you are interested Carl Trueman has been causing some interesting debate about “celebrity pastors” here, here and here.

Thabiti Anyabwile responds here and here.

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4 thoughts on “The kind of man I want to be

  1. James

    I couldn’t agree more. This is true Christ-likeness. BUT! We must Christians must remember these 2 important points:

    1. We can only become like this when we realise how much God Loves us unconditionally. The more we let His Love impact us, the more we will become like DR Francis, and Christ! (1 John 4:19)

    2. We shouldn’t criticize celebrity pastors/Christians. If they are doing their thing, and not doing it the way Christ would, then we should leave them be, and at best pray for them. God works all things together for the good of those who Love Him. If these people Love God, He will still use them. We are not God. And we shouldn’t judge. No matter who these people are and what they get up to.

    Great article. Thank you!

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  2. John Post author

    James I wholeheartedly agree with point 1. On point 2 while I agree with you that it is God who is at work I do think that there is room, to question, with humility, the Christian culture surrounding us. I must agree with Carl Trueman that reserved seating and separate eating arrangements for speakers does sit somewhat uncomfortably with me. Although I can see the good logic in it, it is perhaps not gospel logic? I take Trueman’s posts as helpful and penetrating questions that need to be asked about our obsession with conferences and high-profile speakers (and I include myself in this!) I do not think anyone would deny that God is at work among many of these high-profile speakers but that does not mean we cannot question some of the practices around the conference celebrity culture.

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  3. caroline

    would love to see a conference speaker pushing a guest to the meeting in a wheelchair across the campsite! servant-hood that’s lived out speaks volumes!

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  4. Pingback: The most important thing I learnt from John Stott « a missional life

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