I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:27
Jesus pointed out a serious inconsistency in the lives of the spiritual leaders of His time, saying, “The teachers of the Law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach” (Matthew 23:2-3).
Geoffrey Chaucer, an English poet of old, gives a better testimony of the village parson in his “Canterbury Tales”:
“But Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve,
He taught, and first he folwed it him-selve.”
It was the concern of the apostle Paul to subject himself to the same truths of God’s Word that he was teaching to the members of his young congregations. He wrote, “I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
This is the concern of every faithful pastor and teacher in Christendom. Christ’s representatives in the church realize that they teach by personal example as much as by their words. What they are is often more eloquent than their spoken words. Their Christian life is important. It expresses the personal obedience of those who teach us to accept God’s Word, both the Law and Gospel promises. Also Saint Peter writes, “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder … not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:1, 3). Parents also, like Chaucer’s village parson, are to be commended when they themselves follow the teachings of Christ which they seek to impart to their children. Little children—also the older ones—are known to be imitators. What a blessing it is in the home when parents and children, in their Christian faith and life, are committed to Jesus Christ, who in love redeemed them and made them His own in Holy Baptism!
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord Jesus, for all servants of the Word, and for all parents who personally profess and follow Your Word. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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