Mike Pence, the American Vice-President, has taken a significant amount of criticism over his comments on adhering to the ‘Billy Graham’ rule. In essence, his commitment was, as far as possible, not to be in a private meeting space alone with a woman other than his wife. Clearly in our equality obsessed world, such a ‘rule’ seems archaic, and the feminist criticism has been particularly vociferous.
The changing culture, the ‘#metoo’ movement, the home call of Billy Graham, along with allegations made against senior and significant evangelical leaders regarding their conduct with members of the opposite sex, once again bring the call to personal holiness into sharp focus. Our calling is not simply to burn brightly for a season, and then burn out or burn up. Our personal walk with Christ, our faithfulness in marriage or singleness, our self-control, gentleness and patience should be integrated into our life and ministry.
Jesus’ call for the disciples to ‘come aside and rest awhile’, is vital for us to reflect and act upon. The busyness of ministry places heavy demands on our families, friendships and health. The building of safeguards around the areas of ‘power, sex and money’, is vital to the life and longevity of all engaged in the Lord’s work.
Key Questions to reflect on:
• Do I take a genuine day of rest each week (and if not, why not)?
• Do I make investing in my family as great a priority as investing in my ministry?
• Who are my ‘accountability partners,’ who can ask me with challenging questions that help me have a godly perspective?
We can support one another in these areas as we face the challenges of life. May God help us to maintain our testimony and ministry for the long haul, so that with the apostle Paul we can say,
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
2 Corinthians 4: 7-10