I came across a great quote by Benjamin Franklin:
Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.
Of course… we want to be at peace with our neighbors as church and ministry leaders in 2016.
But the phrase that caught my attention is that we should be ‘at war with our vices’.
But wait. Pastors and church leaders don’t have vices, do they?
Uh, yeah… of course we do.
Some are more serious than others. We’ve all heard the stories of gross sexual misconduct, serious financial improprieties, etc. that bring pastors down.
Lust. Greed. They are ministry killers.
But so are the more subtle ones.
Here are some examples:
1. A propensity toward overeating. Ouch. For many of us, this is a vice. During 2015 I was able to shed about 45 pounds because I confronted one vice that I’d ignored for a long time: Overeating with a strong propensity for lack of physical activity. Tackling both has been a win/win for me personally… but I still fight the urge (especially over the holidays) to eat way too much and exercise way too little.
2. Being a workaholic. How many church leaders do you know that spend WAY too much time at the office or WAY too many nights away from their family? In doing so, many leaders have somehow sacrificed what’s best for their family for what they think is best for their ministry. (To be clear, that is seldom a good trade-off; and it definitely can’t be done long-term without (usually) catastrophic ramifications).
3. Harboring a sense of entitlement. Be really careful if you ever think, even for one second, that ‘I deserve this’. No matter what it is you think you deserve, it’s a slippery slope. What you give in to once can quickly become a long-term vice.
So… what’s your vice?
What activity, attitude, or actions will keep you from being a better man or woman in 2016?
Rather than trying some new courageous or noble activity or resolution for 2016, maybe try something different this year: be at war with your vices.
It’s something to think about!