“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” (NIV James 3:1-2)
As a young ministerial trainee in 1985 and then later on as a young pastor more than 25 years ago, our leaders used to remind us of this verse. Since pastors are in preaching and teaching positions, we were always reminded that we will be judged more strictly. We therefore had to make sure that we were preaching and teaching faithfully according to God’s Word in the Bible. We were constantly reminded to be careful with whatever we preach and teach. Words can either edify or destroy the hearers.
Preaching & Teaching Responsibility
This is always a good reminder to all pastors and teachers and to all of us. With the advent of social media like Facebook for example, a lot of people can now express their views openly and we can be careless with what we share. The apostle James’ words should remind us constantly to be careful with whatever thoughts or views we share to others online.
When you want to share something, first ask: Is it according to God’s Word? Does it edify and build up others? Or does it destroy others and it only exalts your own ego? Those who presume to be teachers, those who would-be-pastors, and those who think they know better than others, should think twice before they say anything because those “who teach will be judged more strictly.”
Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. 4 Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. 5 Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (Colossians 4:3-6)
Yesterday in Baguio City, during the last day of our denominational convention, my wife and I received a plaque of appreciation for our twenty-five years of service in full-time ministry. We were also given gold watches with the name of our denomination, Grace Communion International, embossed inside the watch.
Years of Service: 23 Years and Four Months
That was so unexpected because I was actually retired back in February 2009—not exactly 25 years yet—lacking one year and eight months more or less. Additionally, the year 2010 had already passed for more than two years. It was therefore quite a pleasant surprise! But my wife and I were glad to be honored as we continue serving in ministry although no longer a full-time employee of the church. My thanks to our national director and to our pastor general for this gift and for this token of appreciation. More than the gift, it’s really the thought that counted. It’s what really touched our hearts. It’s much appreciated.
I no longer pastor any local church but I continue to get involved in preaching and teaching opportunities as I get to be invited in the local churches. The Lord has led me as well into some kind of online ministry. Since the year 2001, I somehow got interested to get into it. Some call it web ministry or internet evangelism. Doing pastoral work does have its challenges but doing ministry online has its own challenges as well. Either way—pastoral ministry or web ministry—doing the Lord’s work can be quite challenging and exciting. It’s not for the faint-hearted. I thank the Lord for allowing me to participate in his work.
Some say that religion and politics are twin issues that one should not get into if you want to have a more peaceful life. Engaging in discussions about politics and/or religion will only lead to heated arguments and ruined relationships according to some. Well, I guess most of the time that’s true. But it doesn’t have to be that way I would suppose. I believe any topic whether politics or religion can be discussed in a friendly and gentlemanly manner. There is really no need to be rude to one another.
Oftentimes these days, we read on social media of people’s comments about religion or politics with fiery passion and conviction. Some are quick and very bold to voice out their opinions for or against an issue regardless of who gets hurt and even condemn those who oppose their strongly held convictions. Some are quick to comment without thinking haha! Instead of discussing purely an issue, these conversations usually lead to a heated argument, name calling and insults. And some are openly expressing their views filled with hate, anger and curses. It happens all the time at Facebook. But the good Book does remind us to “let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Col. 4:6). It’s a good reminder when we join conversations whether it be face-to-face or on the internet.
As for me, having grown up as a son of a former politician, I know first hand how hard life can be if one is heavily involved in politics. It can be tough for the family too. There is no such thing as a “private life” for the family of a politician. I have therefore tried not to talk about or get involved in politics as much as possible. “I’ve been there”—so to speak. But it doesn’t mean I won’t ever talk about politics if the need arises. It doesn’t mean as well that I’m not concerned about what’s going on in the country today.
As to religion, well, I am a pastor since 1985 and I can talk about religion for hours if you want me to haha! I do get involved in theological discussions once in a while in the hope of helping people see the light—the True Light that shines in the darkness. Religion has such a bad name nowadays that when you mention the word, people think of it as “the opiate of the people.” Or maybe some would think that it’s just big business run by manipulative religious nuts bent on getting your money out of your pocket and into their own pockets.
But the good Book does mention that there is such a thing as true religion as well which is different from the bad kind. According to James, true religion that is pure and undefiled is to visit the poor, the widows and the fatherless. It means loving your neighbor and helping them in their need. Instead of rumor-mongering and spreading gossip and lies, this person has integrity and can truly be considered “honorable.” A real God-fearing politician or religious person does truly love and is truly concerned about the welfare of his people. Just my thoughts.
- “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (James 1:26-27)