Today pastor John Piper tweeted: “First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.” Matt. 23:26. The great war is within.
* He’s right. Makes you think of what Jesus said: “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” The other day a pastor I coach said something derisive about one of his members and then claimed, “I didn’t mean that.” Oh, really?
* Then there was the guy who explained to me how he has developed a private prayer language (speaking in tongues) when he has his quiet time and morning prayers. Well, that’s great but he treated his girlfriend poorly every time I saw them together.
* Which leads me to James chapter 3 where James says “not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” I used to tell young pastors to pay attention to this passage. “Don’t be standing behind the pulpit without preparing.”
But one day someone told me her pastor was a good preacher, always well prepared and easy to listen to. In the middle of the week once she saw him cut in line in front of someone at a checkout line. To say the least, she was surprised and very disappointed.
Piper is right, isn’t he? The great war is within. That war is worth fighting tooth and toenail because people judge you by how you act in the grocery-store line at 6:15p.m. on a Wednesday evening, not by how nice you are on Sunday morning at church standing next to the coffee bar.