Something I have enjoyed so much about being a minister is that I have some really excellent people as role models. I know that in every vocation, people have other experts and leaders whom they admire. It seems like a lot of times it will be someone who is fastest or strongest, or whose company makes the most money. But their personal integrity might or might not factor that much into their status.
I got to spend most of today with Dr. Phil Slate, who I interviewed as part of a specialized practicum I'm doing this semester at the Harding Grad School. I found myself feeling like the gentile woman who told Jesus, "Even dogs can eat the crumbs that fall from the master's table." This guy is just such a solid person. He is dripping with wisdom and compassion. He's lived overseas for years, he's well educated, and most importantly, he's given his life to trying to strengthen the church. At this stage in his life, he's preparing to make yet another shift to start pouring more effort into domestic mission work because he sees a need there. We talked about a variety of subjects, and in each regard, he had some thought or advice that was positive and helpful.
I love having people to mentor me who are not untouchable famous millionaires. Despite the bad press that some ministers and Christian leaders get, there are a lot of Christian people who have led magnificent lives, and who have lived this way for noble, selfless reasons; not for personal gain. My heroes are not sports legends or CEO's. Many of my heroes are people that I've been blessed to get to know.
Spending time learning at the feet of Dr. Slate today reminded me of why I chose ministry. I had seriously contemplated trying to "make it" in the music business, or in the corporate world. But I looked at my own life and abilities and was convicted that with all the blessings I've been given, I owed God too much not to try and give him my life through church work. I've been blessed already with the two terrific congregations where I've been able to work. If in my life I'm able to contribute to the church in a way that's even a fraction of what people like Dr. Slate have done, I know I'll be able to die with the peace of feeling like my life meant something.
There is no amount of money equal to the value of a solid Christian role model.