Tom Schreiner offers a great, Christ-centred answer to this.
‘“winning personality” is not found in the list of pastoral qualifications in 1 Timothy 3 or Titus 1. What is writ large over those passages is character not charisma, faithfulness not magnetism, love for God’s people not an alluring persona.’
‘Until very recently my understanding of what it meant to be a Berean was flawed or incomplete. The picture painted for me was one of the Bereans actively searching the Bible, refusing to believe what the apostles taught unless they could flip to a certain page and attach a passage to it. There’s only one problem with that image. The Bereans had no Bibles.’
‘Countless multitudes attend church regularly, but view it as a commodity—a conveniently located provider of spiritual goods and services for which they make no real sacrifice. Of course, such a perspective can be manifested in different forms. In some cases, it assumes the form of total avoidance of any sort of participation beyond semi-regular attendance on Sundays. However, in many other cases, it is far less obvious than that.’
‘Whilst the uncertainty of life means that we cannot know whether this day will be our last, this is a distorted and unliveable philosophy. It injects a false urgency into life, and if taken literally, would ensure we only ever take the shortest term view. Despite this, it is all too easy for Christians to adopt just such a perspective. Preachers often use rhetoric of this type to motivate believers to urgency. It can be highly manipulative. Such false urgency is often enshrined in eschatological teaching, which assumes that the return of Jesus, or the rapture, could occur at any moment. There may well be times when we do know that our days are short, for example if we have a terminal illness or are in advanced old age. This should give a right sense of urgency to our decisions and actions. But rather than living permanently with a false sense of urgency, the Bible encourages us to be wise by numbering our days.’
I really enjoy these cross-cultural posts. It is a helpful reminder that we all have cultural norms that we simply take for granted.
‘Let’s be honest, a sacrifice is only a sacrifice if it actually costs us something. But Christ calls us to lay down our lives for him and he calls us to go to a lost and dying world with the gospel. That necessarily includes deprived communities. For you, moving to a deprived community may be a huge sacrifice that really costs you. But we need to take seriously the words of Jesus and ask ourselves, is he worth it?’