What Kind Of “Man” (Or Woman) Are You? (Proverbs 28)

What Kind Of “Man” (Or Woman) Are You? (Proverbs 28)

Neal Pollard

The proverbs in Proverbs 28 are still part of the collection of those transmitted during the reign of King Hezekiah well over 200 years after Solomon’s death. They are filled with warnings and instructions, many of them similes. In this chapter, Solomon speaks of various types of men both good and bad.

“A poor man” (3, 6, 11,15). The poor man is not always painted sympathetically, nor is he always approved by God. Solomon mentions the audacious poor man who oppresses other poor people as being a destructive rainstorm (3). But the poor man who walks in integrity is said to be better than the crooked-acting rich man (6). Solomon praises the one who looks after the poor (8). A poor man with understanding is wiser than a rich man wise in his own eyes (11). God condemns wicked rulers who trample over the poor (15). A stingy miser bequeaths poverty to his descendants (22). Giving to the poor does not impoverish a person, but the one who turns his eyes away from the poor is cursed (27). 

“An evil man” (5). This man is also referred to as “wicked” (1,4,12,15, 28), a synonym of evil meaning one who is guilty of a crime and deserving punishment. This evil one is unpleasant and malignant in God’s eyes. In Proverbs 28:5, they are depicted as being as far from God as possible such that they do not understand justice. Keeping with that contrast, law-abiding people fight against the wicked (4). People avoid wicked rulers (12,28), and with good reason (15). Yet, the wicked are full of instability and insecurity (1). Even their prayer is an abomination to God (9). 

“A rich man” (6,11). While the book of Proverbs makes clear, as does the rest of Scripture, that being rich is not inherently evil or wrong, that state of being often comes with caveats and warnings. Paul says, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Tim. 6:9). Jesus taught, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Mat. 19:24). He says it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven (Mat. 19:23). In keeping with biblical teaching in other places, Solomon, one of the wealthiest men who ever lived, speaks from experience. Wealth can easily be abused or misused. He can easily trust in himself (11). Several statements about the poor in this chapter show the danger to those who trust in their riches. As Solomon writes, “A stingy man hastens after wealth” (22) and “a greedy man stirs up strife” (25). 

“A faithful man” (20). This man is literally one who is full of faith, steady, trustworthy, honest, and dependable. He is a blessed in his ways. He walks in integrity (18). They fear the Lord always (14). “The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding” (7). They are among the righteous (28). He is not exempt from wrongdoing, but he is faithful to confess and forsake it (13). If he is rebuked (23), he will respond wisely and appropriately.

Character is built thought by thought, decision by decision. It is not dramatic. While there may be defining moments that stand out, it is mostly subtle and gradual. Each one of us is becoming some kind of man or woman, moving in one direction or another. Jesus says it most dramatically, that we are traveling on one of two roads leading to one of two eternal destinies (Mat. 7:13-14). We are not what we wish, hope, or intend to be. We are the product of our choices. God wants us to consider carefully and be faithful (Rev. 2:10). 

The Local Preacher (Part 3)

The Local Preacher (Part 3)

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

The Local Preacher (Part 3) 

Acts 20:19 says, “serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews.” Paul “served with humility.” As great a man as Paul was, he served (douleuo – ministered to others as if he were their slave). His service is described with three genitives: With all humility (Philippians 2:3), with tears, and with trials. So all of this could be summed up as Paul served with humility, and stayed faithful through trials. Once again we can tie this back to the local preacher, as preachers are put in a position to serve the congregation and to stay faithful to them. Many preachers can become very haughty because every single Sunday they have people telling them how incredible their sermons are. Preachers must constantly keep in mind the humility that they should be practicing (John 13).

The local preacher should not shy away from teaching that which will help the church. Acts 20:20 says, “how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house.” Herbert Agar once said, “The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.” 

People will not always be open to the message that preachers proclaim. But the job is to proclaim all truth to the congregation. We also learn that preachers should be vocal about the Gospel. Notice that Paul said “…in public and from house to house.” The word used for “shrink” in this verse is upostello and means to “shrink from and avoid, implying fear.”

The local preacher is to make no exclusions as seen in Acts 8:21 which reads, “Testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul preached the Gospel to everyone! He knew what they needed and gave it to them. One way we can put this into perspective is to make a parallel between how we treat others, and how God treats us. As humans, we can sometimes show partiality. Whether it is because of someone’s personality or how they treat us, we tend to avoid those types of people. 

What if God treated us this way? We know from Romans 5:8 that God sent His son to die for us “while we were yet sinners…” God did not, does not, and never will show partiality to anyone. Paul proclaimed to both Jews and Gentiles. The Jews at this time did not get along well with the Gentiles at all. Paul puts that aside and shares the Gospel with them. Romans 10:12 says, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him.” 

This all applies to the local preacher today. There should never be partiality shown to different members by the preacher. Even more than that, there should be no partiality shown to those outside of the Church! Yet we see that so much in today’s culture. The Gospel is what people need, so he must never let partiality stand between a soul and eternal life.

The Struggles Of The Righteous

The Struggles Of The Righteous

(Pinch Hitting For Brent, Who Is Sick)

(This is from today’s Lehman Learner)

Neal Pollard

Perhaps Jeremiah seemed to be mean, harsh, even unloving, to his brethren. His message is certainly what we could categorize as negative, but we remind ourselves that its source was God. What may get lost in Jeremiah’s challenging message is how it affected him to share it. Chapter nine is full of the struggles he endured in being God’s spokesman with a message of divine judgment.

Jeremiah endured mourning (1). While Judah would be hypercritical and threatening toward Jeremiah for his message, they had him all wrong. He did not relish his unpleasant message. He would have preferred to have kept his mouth closed (20:9). They had no idea of how his mission was wearing on him. He writes, “Oh that my head were waters And my eyes a fountain of tears, That I might weep day and night For the slain of the daughter of my people!” He knew that they were hurting themselves by their lifestyle, and he wanted them to escape judgment. It can be heartbreaking work to share God’s word on any number of unpleasant, unpopular subjects. No rational preacher, elder, or teacher is excited to share such a message, but it must be done (2 Tim. 4:2).  Jeremiah is rightly called the “weeping prophet” (8:18; 13:17; Lam. 2:18). Revealing this was an emotional struggle.

Jeremiah endured isolation  (2). The pressures of sharing a message nobody wanted to hear created inevitable isolation. He felt alone and like nobody understood or cared. He longs to escape such disappointing, unrighteous behavior. He wanted to run like Jonah. He felt alone like Elijah. It can go with the business of declaring God’s message. There are times when you may feel like you are standing all alone, but you never will if you are sharing God’s word God’s way. He will never leave you (Mat. 28:20; Heb. 13:6). 

Jeremiah endured disillusionment (3-6). He expected more and better from his brethren. They knew better, but they were guilty of treachery and adultery (2), lies and deceit (3,5-6), ignorance (3), violence (4), slander (5), and general iniquity (5). Have you ever overheard someone you looked up to use foul language or stumbled upon someone doing something sinful? It’s like a punch in the gut. But imagine a congregation full of people doing what God through Jeremiah reports. It had to have been discouraging and caused feelings of hopelessness. 

Jeremiah endured a sinking realization (7-11). What was the cost of this? Sin is not without consequences (Gal. 6:7-8; Hos. 8:7; Prov. 6:26). At the heart of God’s message was this rhetorical question: “Shall I not punish them for these things?” (9). Jeremiah knew what was coming. There would be weeping, wailing, and dirges (funeral songs)(10).  Judah would be ruined and desolate (11). Jeremiah knew this ahead of time. Whatever normalcy he witnessed each morning and evening, he knew that would ultimately change. The fact of judgment looms over the horizon of time. It will be a day of rejoicing for the righteous and prepared, but not for the rest of humanity. The people of Judah were not ready for this judgment, and Jeremiah knew that. 

Jeremiah endured being overwhelmed (12-16). The message gets specific about the nature of what was coming. It was going to be more devastating than any of them had experienced. Because of their stubborn rebellion, they would be scattered and annihilated. Hope belongs to the penitent, but there’s just no good news for those who are determined to oppose God’s way.  

Jeremiah endured unpleasant duty (17-22). God tells Jeremiah to call for mourning, wailing, and tears (17-19). He is help them focus on their shame (19).  The heart of the message was death (20-22). Don’t you think Jeremiah would have loved to have spoken of grace, mercy, lovingkindness, and blessings? But the circumstances did not call for that. Jeremiah had to be faithful to God’s message. Like Micaiah, every faithful spokesman for God should say, “As the Lord lives, what the Lord says to me, that I shall speak” (1 Ki. 22:14). 

There is a ray of hope starting in 9:23. Amid the folly of idolatry, there will be a reminder of the wonderful, perfect character of God in chapter ten. But even here, there is encouragement for God’s faithful servant. It was a message for the worldly wise, for the mighty man, and for the wealthy (23) not to trust in those things, but to trust in Him. Everyone should boast of knowing and understanding God, that He is “the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things” (24). Punishment was for the spiritually uncircumcised (25-26). It was not for the faithful, like His man Jeremiah. Whatever we have to struggle through for the Savior, may we know that God will be with us through thick and thin. He has not left us alone. He will always be with us, help us, and strengthen us! Declaring His word is right, and He will not let us lose for being unswervingly loyal to it and Him! 

The Joy Of A Christian

The Joy Of A Christian

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

Joy is a decision based on knowledge. It is a choice we can make. 

You can have joy in every moment of life if you choose to do so. We won’t always feel happy, but joy is a trait that goes deeper than emotions. It is a feeling of hope because of salvation. As a saved child of God, you can have joy in the knowledge of Christ, the church, and an eternity with God. 

We all know people that are joyful 24/7. No matter what happens they seem to always look on the bright side. On the other hand, I’m sure you can think of someone that’s always down. They can always find something to complain about. They could have a perfect life and still be looking for something negative to dwell on. Two people can go through the same situation and have two completely different reactions. 

As Christians we should be people of joy. Why? Because we have every reason to be joyful! But what about having joy in tribulation? How can we be joyful when our world comes crashing down around us? We need to remember that joy isn’t the same as happiness. Joy comes from an understanding of the bigger picture. Happiness is short term and based on current events. 

The faithful Christian can go through heartache and feel sadness, but still have joy in the bigger picture. We can face trials, no matter what they are, and still have joy because we know this world is not our home. James 1:2 says “count it all joy when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

We can have joy in knowing that if we face trials with endurance, we will ultimately receive the greatest reward we could ever get. This kind of joy isn’t something that comes naturally. It takes time to develop, and trials to perfect it. 

Not every day will be a happy day, but in Christ every day can be joyful. 

Don’t Give Up!

Don’t Give Up!

Sunday’s Column: Learning From Lehman

Kason Eubanks

Austin Hatch’s story has been called miraculous. Some believe he is a walking miracle. He was born into a loving family who loved to spend time together. One day his family was going back home to Fort Wayne, Indiana from their family cabin in Michigan. On the flight back they experienced equipment failure. He lost his mom, his brother, and his sister. The only thing that was left was his father and the game they both love. The game of basketball was there to comfort Austin as they both trash talked each other during the games they played. After his dad got married he decided to take his new wife and Austin for a flight. Due to bad weather they were forced to land early, causing another crash. This time he was the only survivor. He was in a coma for six weeks. When he woke up he had to relearn his life. It was his dream to play for Michigan. Already accepting the scholarship he knew he needed to learn basketball again. He kept going to rehab and finally got in a game at Loyola High School when they got a big lead. They passed him the ball and he shot a three. He did it! He overcame the two worst days of his life.

He cared so much about the game of basketball that he went through all that trouble to go back through all the things he already learned so he could shoot that shot just a couple more times. Just like Austin we all suffer. Going to school or work everyday, it’s hard to keep the world out and remember our task from God.

Revelation 2:10 says, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Even the fear of death should not keep from the task God has given us. We are reminded in 1 Peter 3:14 and 2 Timothy 3:12 that if we suffer for the right that we will be given a greater reward. In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul tells us, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” Just like we should. We should not let anyone stop us from keeping our faith no matter what we go through.

Austin Hatch’s story proves that anything can happen at any time. To anyone who is not a Christian or not living as a faithful Christian, what are you waiting for?

Fred Baur

Fred Baur

Thursday’s Column: Learning From Lehman


Braden Wilson

It was 2008, just 20 days shy of his 90th birthday, when Fred Baur died. On the way to the funeral home, his kids decided to stop at a nearby Walgreens to pick up some salty snacks. They debated for a bit, should it be sour cream and onion, cheddar cheese maybe? Larry and his siblings finally decided on Original. 

You see, Fred adored his kids, but his passion was snacks. His accomplishments included a variety of frying oils and freeze-dried ice cream. 

Fred was an American organic Chemist that had received both his masters and PhD at The Ohio State University, and it was 1966 when P&G came calling. Evidently, in the 1960s, there was a problem with the packaging and shipping of potato chips. By the time the consumer would pick up potato chips at a store, well, they were merely in pieces. This is where P&G thought Fred could help solve this problem. 

After two years of experimentation, Fred developed a chip of dried potato flakes, added a bunch of unpronounceable ingredients, and cut them into thin hyperbolic paraboloids. With this shape, Fred could neatly stack his chips into his vacuum sealed tube. 

By this time, you know that I am referring to Fred’s invention of Pringles, but the story doesn’t end there. Fred still wasn’t done with his invention. 

There were problems:

First and foremost, they tasted like sawdust, so Fred spent another 2 years to improve the taste. Then, another issue. Frito-Lay sent lawyers because they said Fred’s chips weren’t potato chips at all because they were just 42% potato. 

After some time and haggling, they decided to call them potato crisps. 

Fred persevered.

He gave birth to an iconic brand that many of us still enjoy today. Through years of experimentation, development, and disappointments, lawyers-at one point P&G wanted to trash the idea. 

But Fred persevered. 

He was able to see his brand break 100 million in sales. He was able to see it break 500 million in sales. However, he wasn’t there in 2011 when P&G sold Pringles for almost 2.5 Billion Dollars. 

That brings us back to 2008 when Fred’s children showed up to the funeral home with the Original flavored can of pringles. Fred’s wish was to have his ashes be placed in a Pringles can when he passed. 

Fred got his wish.

As great as this story is, we wouldn’t have this story if it wasn’t for Fred’s perseverance. And as great as Fred’s perseverance was, we have so many examples of greater perseverance in the Bible. 

Consider Joshua, Job, Jeremiah, Nehemiah and our greatest example of perseverance, Jesus. These are just a few of the many examples the Bible gives us. 

Two points I want to quickly make about Perseverance, and the lesson is yours. 


It’s not a matter of if, but when…Christians Will Face Tribulations in Life. Jesus says in John 16:33, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 

Christ never promised us that this life would be a bed of roses. The Gospel never said we’d go to Heaven on “flowery beds of ease.” Rather, we are promised that we shall have hardships and tribulations in this life, especially if we are faithful Children of God.

Only those who persevere receive the reward. Revelation 2:10-11 tells us, “ Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”


Romans 8: 18-28 can be summarized as this: Viewed in faith, tribulation is a friend rather than an enemy. I don’t know a lot of adversity that is necessarily fun, but we can learn from it, and we can grow from it. 

In Deuteronomy 8, the Israelites failed to see the benefits of their trials. 

In Numbers, we see there was an Exodus of over one Million Israelites. 

We later see that only two Persevered and reached the promised land. 

In 1 Corinthians and Hebrews, Paul admonishes us not to imitate the Israelites.

Rather than complain, rejoice in God’s work in your life. 

Difficulties and trials would not normally be considered an occasion for joy but think about James and Paul and how they exhort us to look beyond the immediate pain and discomforts of trials to the lasting effect they have on the character of the Christian. 

It is the development of our character, that should cause us to rejoice in adversity. Always remember who wins in the end. 

We all have mountains to climb and sometimes holes to dig ourselves out of. Perhaps you want to begin to persevere and put on the armor of God through Baptism. There is no better time than now. Perhaps you’ve been baptized, and you’re currently trying so hard to climb the mountain that you’re on and you’ve had setbacks. We would love to help you reach the peak. 

Hosea and the Harlot

Hosea and the Harlot

Thursday’s Column: Carlnormous Comments


Carl Pollard

The book of Hosea is like no other book in the Bible. It even stands out from the other books of prophecy in the Old Testament. Hosea was commanded to prophecy to the nation of Israel just like other men during this time period, but unlike other prophets Hosea’s message was directly tied to his personal life. He spoke to Israel and was motivated by the personal experiences that were happening to him in his life. 

Hosea was commanded by God to marry the harlot Gomer (1:2). Gomer’s unfaithfulness to Hosea served as an example of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. As the account unfolds, Hosea and Gomer have three children whose names are used to send Israel a very specific message. While this book may seem harsh and almost cruel, let’s notice the main idea of Hosea. 

Hosea reveals to us the depth of God’s unending love for His children, a love that is never failing but also a love that tolerates no rivals. The people that God has chosen as His own must recognize that His love must come first above anyone and everything else. This fact is seen in Hosea’s marriage to Gomer. In chapter 1:2-11, we are introduced to Hosea’s family. He has a wife and three kids, but Gomer doesn’t stick around long. She leaves Hosea and goes back to her life of harlotry. There’s a symbolic message that Hosea uses in his prophecy. He compares Israel’s actions to what his wife did to him. They left their union with God to live a life of sin. 

While most of us would find it hard to love someone if they did these things to us, God still continued to love Israel. Hosea 3:1 says, “And the Lord said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods…” God’s love is truly unending towards His children. The book of Hosea clearly illustrates this point. 

By reading this book we can know that God’s forgiveness is available to everyone at any point. Not only do we get a glimpse of God’s attitude towards those who have left Him, we also see a personal example of how much God is willing to do in order to restore His relationship with us. 

Hosea truly is a unique book. The prophet married a woman that he knew would eventually betray his trust. He knew the pain and heartache that would come from her unfaithfulness to him, but it was all done so that we could better understand God’s love and dedication towards imperfect and sinful man. 

Be Fearlessly Fervent 

Be Fearlessly Fervent 

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail


It takes a special individual of both breed and brand to truly impact the world. The fact is, many will live their lives comfortable and content to never break any molds or “step outside the box,” as they say. Most believers understand that God has called us out of this world to be lights and to be different, but that means being uncomfortable (James 1:2-4). We don’t like that aspect of faithful walking and at times the fire inside us and the will to go on is at the verge of being snuffed out. On every side we are surrounded by a raging current of mainstream ideologies and beliefs that drown the masses sweeping them closer towards eternity—unprepared. That familiar and depressing reality can discourage and frustrate us to the point of tears. Preachers, elders, and leaders are constantly fighting these feelings as they huff and puff under the weight of it all.
Christian fathers and mothers anxiously worry about that painfully uncertain future their children will battle. Young people are plagued with convincing thoughts that a faithful life is all but impossible today. How can we make an impact? You may wonder what difference you could possibly make as you observe such a powerful and evil force.
Here is the bad news, it’s hard. But here is the wonderful new, it’s worth it! God has given us an instruction manual on how to become mighty misfits in a culture that rejects righteousness. There are permanent footprints left by the feet of godly men throughout history, and their tracks lead to victory for those that choose to follow them.
For example, there is the trail blazer and zealous disciple, Paul. He serves as an inspiring nonconformist when he abandons his previous life of riches, respect, and comfort. His courage, faith, and determination can produce a powerful stirring in our spirits. If that man with the thorn can overcome fear and defeat the devil’s endeavors, despite his own weakness, then by the grace of God we can too. Our lives can leave an impact and they can serve as beacon of light for generations to come.
Notice how Jabez demonstrates this point in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10. Within a lengthy list of family lines that make up the sons of Judah, Jabez breaks the mold. While numerous names are given, there is something more to be said of Jabez. He stands out as one who was “more honorable” than those who were before him in verse nine. Though his name means “son of my sorrow,” a label associated with affliction, he refuses to let this name define his future. The key to his success is given in the following verse which says, “Jabez called upon the Lord saying, ‘oh that you would bless me, your hand be with me, and that you would keep me from harm so that it might not give me pain!’ And God granted what he asked.” That verse is loaded with valuable lessons for this age and every age to follow.
Lesson one, don’t interpret your future by looking at your past. It doesn’t matter what family you were born into or how you were raised. We all have been given at least three common blessings. If you are made in the image of God, and you are, then that means you have talent, opportunity, and a life. The amount of talent, number of opportunities, and quality of that life is irrelevant. You have everything you need to succeed which is precisely what our Father desires.
Lesson number two, only God can grant you gainful glory. Jabez established his lasting legacy and was victorious because he understood one thing. God is the God of impartiality. He offers a heavenly hand to help the stereotypically weak and sinful human break the stereotype. The cards of life you hold in your hand mean little to the God who owns the deck. Jabez, Paul, and many faithful others understood the weakness of humanity. Their lives are a statement and a confession— God can help anyone rise above the crowd. He can help you achieve the only recognition that counts and give you the precious gift of a future with certainty.
The path to victory is a narrow one according to Matthew 7:14. Few have found it and few have finished it, but with the right Guide it can definitely be done. Are you unsure of your current location? Look down at the tracks you are following, and the guide walking with you. If you are holding the hand of the Savior— you can be sure you’re going in the right direction. Allow that comfort to strengthen you and break out of whatever mold you are in. Let God use your weakness and failures to leave an eternal mark on a world that needs it. There is no congregation that can’t grow, no Christian that can’t improve, and no unsaved person that doesn’t deserve the chance to hear that life changing message of the cross. There’s a great day coming, and that should provoke some excitement as well as motivate us all to diligently and fearlessly work until then.
“Father’s Table Grace”

“Father’s Table Grace”

Monday’s Column: “Neal At The Cross”


Neal Pollard

In 1960, Otho Jones and Homer L. Sewell wrote a song made popular by Flatt and Scruggs. It’s a song written from the point of view of a man’s oldest son, a son who felt he was old enough to be on his own and leave home. He describes his father as simple and not filled with a formal education, but also as one very devout and the spiritual leader of his home. He describes himself as “young and foolish.” When I listen to this song, I think about the way I could be as a teenager and how I tried my parents’ patience. My dad, a gospel preacher since 1964, has always been a diligent praying man. While I never heard him say these words in my presence, I wonder if he ever prayed them about me in my younger days.

“Our gracious heavenly father we all gathered here today
To give the things for blessings so humble we pray
My oldest son is leaving but I’m sure he knows what’s best
But just in case would you stand by and help him stand the test

Lord he’s awful neglectful about church on Sunday morn
And if he gets with a wrong crowd would you let him hold your arm
And if he flies too high would you clip his wings
But don’t let him fall too hard, I’m sure you can handle things

I’ve tried my best from day to day to teach him right from wrong
And he’s grown to be a fine young man and he always blessed our home
We pray dear Lord for guidance that he won’t build upon the sand
But I won’t worry half as much if I know he’s in your hands

And oh yes Lord it won’t be long till I’ll be coming home
Don’t make me wait too long
We pray dear Lord for guidance please cleanse us from our sins
So we can all be together in heaven in Jesus name amen.”

Those words are neither perfectly autobiographical nor an apt description of my dad (who has much more formal education than I do). But I think a lot of parents who continue to labor over their children in prayer, concerned for their safety as they turn them loose in this world. However large the physical or financial threats may be, what should concern us most are the spiritual ones. We will never outgrow our concern for them. We should never stop being the right kind of example to them. May we never sin against them by failing to pray for them. They need us to be the type of Christians described by James, of whom he writes, “The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much” (Jas. 5:16). 

Spiritual Olympics

Spiritual Olympics

Neal Pollard

Well, as the Olympics pervade our attention and national and individual stories of overcoming odds and working hard to achieve greatness make the news over the coming weeks, I want to remind you that Scripture, in many places, encourages us as we are writing our stories which will someday be known by all. Paul, especially, draws on imagery that would have described the Greek Games that were popular in his time. They had been played for hundreds of years by the time of the first century.

  • We run a race that’s winnable, competitive, won by discipline, meaningful, purposeful, but also losable (1 Cor. 9:24-27).
  • We vie for that which requires forgetting the past, pressing in the present, and reaching for the prospective prize (Phil. 3:12-14).
  • We flex our discipline for godliness by exercising our godliness to help us here and hereafter (1 Tim. 4:7-8).
  • We must compete according to the rules (2 Tim. 2:5).
  • We can fight a good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith, and if we do we will be honored by the greatest giver of all (2 Tim. 4:7-8).

Your race may not be run in a huge stadium, be billed as an international event, be recorded in the history books of this life, or be seen all over TV and the internet, but the All-Seeing-Eye is watching. More people than you know are watching you run, both Christians and non-Christians. The stakes exceed that of these or any other earthly games and the reward is immeasurable! Best of all, whatever your physical shape, you can win this race! God is rooting for you!

The Palaestra