Why does natural gas smell like rotten eggs, when it is naturally odorless and colorless? On March 18, 1937, a natural gas leak exploded during school in New London, Texas. None of the teachers knew there was a deadly amount of gas in the air. Suddenly, there was a spark and a huge explosion, killing 298 precious students and teachers and injuring an additional 112.
Since that fateful day, our government said gas is too deadly to remain odorless. A federal law states that an artificial odorant must be added to natural gas.
Sin stinks, so God gave us His Word (the law) so that we can know when sin is present (Rom. 2:15). He also gave us His Spirit to remind us of what is right and wrong:
My conscience is testifying to me with the Holy Spirit. (Rom. 9:1)
Today, I want us to focus on God’s third level of protection against the deadly dangers of sin – other people. The concept of accountability terrifies many pastors because we are hardwired to give counsel, not receive it.
Flee from youthful passion, and pursue righteousness…along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart (2 Tim. 2:22).
Pastors need accountability just as much as anyone else. As public servants who are expected to live “above reproach,” accountability sometimes feels awkward, or even punitive. Consider accountability as a safeguard against sin and its consequences on your life and ministry. I suggest you build integrity into your life with these four walls of accountability:
Your family should be your closest allies, especially on the prevention side of sin. My wife is my greatest supporter, but even Aaron needed Hur to help hold up Moses’ hands during the battle with the Amalekites.
Friends are important allies in the fight against stinky, secret sin because pastors are more likely to share their struggles with their close friends than even with their own family. My wife prefers it that way and wants men in my life who will tell me that my sin stinks. This healthy model is taught in Titus 2, which also reminds us not to minister across genders carelessly.
Why are pastors so reluctant to allow other pastors into their personal lives? Last week I consulted with a church staff and asked them this same question. Answers included: fear, pride, insecurity, naivety, depression.
Pastors will effortlessly talk to each other about their ministries, but are reluctant to share their personal struggles. Ministry is way too hard to do alone! Pray for and pursue a friend who stays closer than a brother (Prov. 18:24).
That gas explosion happened just 24 miles southwest of my hometown of Tyler. Mother Francis Hospital in Tyler was set to open the next day, so this brand new hospital was full of medical personnel who were ready to help over a hundred surviving victims of that explosion.
Who has God sent ahead of you to assist you in times of crisis? Those same people will be there to celebrate with you during seasons of success. I believe every pastor should have a mentor in their life who has had at least ten more birthdays than you.
God is not going let you go through life without letting you know how much sin stinks. Since we know that He speaks through His Word, His Spirit and His people – think of those who have been a God-send in your life. After you have thanked God for those people, bring them in close and let them minister to you as you minister to others.