I was thinking about how I was spiritually challenged and strengthened when we were in Louisville, KY from ’13-’14 as I studied my MDiv at Southern Seminary, and we went to Clifton Baptist Church. As I was a pastoral intern at the church for that year, I was blessed to be able to get a closer look at the church and the leaders of the church than I probably otherwise would have been.
Three of the elders in the church had particular strengths that were exactly spiritual gifts that I am very weak on. One elder was Tom Schreiner. He was such a humble guy, though he had written many well-known books at the seminary. But every week he would get up out of his seat and help old ladies in our Sunday school class as they would get into their seats. He never seemed to be self-promoting about himself, but soft-spoken and unassuming. I am a proud guy and feel incredibly challenged when I think about Tom’s example of living out humility. Another elder was David Dykes. He is willing to serve others, and would often be the one to go way out of his way to help people out when they were in need. I am not too strong in serving others, and so I could see his model of service and learn from it, to try to be more like him in that regard. The last elder I want to mention is Shawn Wright. Shawn has an amazing spirit of gentleness about him. He is approachable and has a soft and gentle spirit to him, and in how he interacts with those around him. Again, gentleness is not something that I feel very strong in. So Shawn’s model of gentleness is something I can strive to pray to have more of for myself.
Praise God that He puts people around us in the church to strengthen the church as a whole. And He also desires that when we see godly traits in others that we don’t necessarily have, we may strive to pray that the Lord may grow us in those areas.