Reflections on Chapter 15 of Spiritual Leadership by Oswald Sanders.
Samuel Brengle. The name did not register with me. So, I did what most Americans would do in 2020. I “googled it”.
I found that he was a minister with The Salvation Army whose efforts bridged a century mark – the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s. That’s significant in its own right due to the great technological advances in the world – from horseback to airlines, from oil lamps to electrical lights and appliances, from telegraph to television, etc. But Dr. Sanders quotes Brengle for his practice of timeless Biblical principle in the midst to rapidly changing society.
When Brengle was challenged with blistering criticism his reply was, “From my heart I thank you for your rebuke. I think I deserved it. Will you, my friend, remember me in prayer?” Now, I don’t know the background of this finite glimpse into his life. I can’t present evidence either positive or negative. Apparently, there was an infraction – whether intentional, or misperceived by the other party, or unrecognized in the moment by Brengle himself. Yet, it is his response that is noteworthy. As result of an acid comment he searched his heart and became more keenly aware of his own role in the scene. Then he paid the cost, laid aside his pride, spoke from his humbled heart and called for unified prayer.
Yes, I know this is only one way in which the servants of God are called upon to pay the price of leading.
There are times when standing tall and straight in a crooked world attracts brazen disapproval. Notwithstanding, the stand for Biblical truth should not be apologized for. I recall the wisdom of the man who pastored me in the early years of my Christian walk. Brother Cecil Bennett said to me more than once, “You can be right and still be wrong.” A man can stand for right doctrine, proper procedure, correct direction and a host of other matters and still have an ungodly attitude full of pride, self-righteousness and self-aggrandizement. These are occasions that call for paying the cost and praying for a Christ-like spirit. Jesus did it day in and day out. He did not deviously plot to do things that would upset others. Yet, neither did He waffle when dealing with subjects prone to offend. He lived consecrated and He spoke clearly. Many times, people took offense at Him and berated Him. Never did He falter in word, deed or attitude. He paid the price.
I know you are aware of this but please let me remind us – paying the price is very rarely about bank accounts. Although there is one similarity. Just as when bank accounts are depleted as we pay the costs of life and of necessity must be replenished; so is your spiritual account. Thankfully, as we pay the price, He is faithful and willing to refill our account with His resources when we call on Him. Sometimes that’s the only thing that keeps us willing to face the next day. That, and His matchless, impeccable promise of reward for having paid the cost…