The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about receiving counsel. In Proverbs 11:14, the Bible says “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellers there is safety.” In Proverbs 15:22, the Bible says, “Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellers they are established.” Proverbs 24:6 says “For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.” Godly counsel is important. It can save a man from a lot of heartache, it can guide a man into a prosperous life. Counsel (or advice) is what this series is all about.
Today’s advice comes from a man of God who has seen people hurt. As we sat together before the church service, he told me, “A servant of the Lord must be gentle”. There is no room for harshness or cruelty for a pastor or missionary. People have been hurt by men who lead by a “It is my way or the highway” mentality. He proceeded to advise me, “Be gentle, lead with love and compassion. People are hurting and they need a man of God who will show them love. Many times, young men over compensate for their youth and can be harsh in an attempt to come across as strong, but he only ends up hurting people.”
This does not mean that Scripture is bypassed or watered down in an attempt to make people feel good. That was not the counsel given. Teach the Bible. Preach the Bible. Proclaim what it says. It is the Word of God. Even so, we can proclaim the truths of the Word of God with compassion and in love.
There are a few different passages about pastoral authority. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 are both passages on this subject. 1 Peter 1-3 also is addresses this subject, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.” As men of God, we must lead, but lead as examples to the flock.
I look forward to getting to Argentina, to finishing up language school, to starting churches, and to training men. These things are exciting to think about. This is what God has called us to do. God also desires me to be a man of God that is gentle. A servant of the Lord must be gentle. Here is some advice, be gentle.