Saturday, June 23, 2007

People matter

Read this story told by Tony Campolo in Rev magazine.

"During the Vietnam war, William Sloan Coffin, preached a sermon against the war. A colonel, a military man in his congregation, was irate. On the way out of the church, he shouted at Coffin. "It was all that I could do to keep my seat. I wanted to stand up, stomp out, and yell back at you, 'bull!' " Coffin said, "why didn't you do that?" The Colonel paused and said, "Because the night my wife died, you stayed at her bedside holding her hand, praying with her all night long."

Campolo went on to say: "Only by being a good pastor can you earn the right for people to put up with you when you do make your prophetic utterances."

In a day and an age of plans, procedures, goals, executive pastors, executive assistants and the like this may be deemed an old fashioned view. I am sometimes seen as a bit of a systems man, better with paper than people. Not your usual pastor type. In all our efforts to make things bigger and better God help me never to forget about your most valuable asset - people.

Our 3 highest priorities must be people, people and people. I am concerned that "people matter" does not become another phrase that is easy to say but never carried through. I must strive to maintain this focus and live this out with integrity. People will put up with many things if they know they matter to you.

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