The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

10 Lessons from 25 years in ministry

These come from the Rev. Bill Shuler, at the Capital Life Church in Arlington, Virginia:

1. The goal is not to win a debate but to redeem the heart.

2. One’s public witness is only as authentic as one’s private integrity.

3. There is no greater source of wisdom than the Bible and no investment
that yields greater returns than prayer.

4. Hate is only validated when one responds in like spirit.

5. Jesus should never be presented as less than he claimed to be: the way, the truth and the life.

6. One should live first and foremost so as to please a heavenly audience.


7. One’s legacy is found not in things that matter least but in people who matter most.

8. The generation into which I am born is my calling and it beckons me to be fully engaged.

9. When Jesus paused while dying on the cross to make certain his mother was cared for, he showed how to prioritize family amidst ministry.

10. Sermons can inspire but it is love in action that makes the most profound impact.

Read more here.

Comments read comments(4)
post a comment
Dcn Scott

posted October 16, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Wow! What great wisdom from Rev. Shuler! By definition great wisdom is simple. Thanks for posting this.

report abuse


posted October 17, 2010 at 9:13 pm

Number 9)
“When Jesus paused while dying on the cross to make certain his mother was cared for, he showed how to prioritize family amidst ministry”
Simplistic and selective Bible reading can lead to incomplete or even faulty conclusions.
Mark 3:31-35 dealt with ministry and family, long before the Cross, and the finale:
Jesus’ Mother and Brothers
Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”
“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.
Christ continued His ministry and would not even bother to go out and talk to his family. His “family” was redefined during ministry.
Many ministers fail to do this at all.
Rethink number 9. Not even close in its conclusion.
Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

report abuse


posted October 18, 2010 at 2:19 pm

I think the two are compatible. Notice that #9 said that Jesus “paused” in his ministry. He did not leave his ministry, he did compromise his ministry, he paused. In the scene you reference, Jesus’ family was trying to get him to leave his ministry. They were doing it out of love .. misguided love, but love. He refused to abandon his ministry, even for family. But even at the penultimate act of His atonement, He made sure that there was sufficient room to meet His obligation of love to His mother. He did not abandon it or compromised it, but he made His mother a priority so that there would always be a place for her.
I think the scene you reference demonstrates the other side of how to prioritize family in ministry.

report abuse


posted October 18, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Your point is taken regarding prioritizing family in ministry.
But I can not agree that the “pause” or action at death represents the author’s claim well at all.
How would any family (in ministry), liked to be “prioritized just before their dad, spouse, etc dies?
Would life insurance be the end all in providing for the family (Jesus did not buy a policy).
I accept that He spoke on the subject at death, particular in reference to Mary and providing for her, as it is appearent that Joseph is no more (or he would likely be at the Cross as well, leaving no need to “provide for Mary”.
He turned His mom over to his best friend. Fine.
But in guiding pastoral families today, this is a really weak argument on behalf of the top ten list there.
Think of it this way. Ever hear of Pastor Appreciation MONTH?
Mother’s Day is a DAY, not a month. (Father’s DAY is an afterthought for the most part).
And Pastor Appreciation always involves the giving of MORE money during every October.
I have no problem with folks appreciating their Pastor all year in whatever way they see fit. NOT a month folks.
The example of “family” in ministry is precisely what Christ was all,about.
He pointed “families to His Father in Heaven,….or do not call HIM family. He was very clear on this, and gives pause for what ministry is all about.
Pastors (in the USA) get enough time to see families and meet obligations, provided they use the time wisely.
I just found number 9 about as weak an argument as possible on the subject at hand. Moreover, it could have been replaced with a couple of dozen HIGHER priority items on the top ten list there.
It seems since Moses, all lists MUST be ten.
This author would have been better off having a list of 9, in my opinion.
But I understand your thinking; just do not agree with it any more than I agreed with the original presentation of number 9.
Families have obligations to one another, including praying for each other.
Christ did NOT tell John or Mary to pray for His lost siblings.
But the true message sounded loud and clear in the example I gave.
We have it too cushy in the USA and I think the clarion call regarding family was done precisely as intended, ….well before the dying moments on the Cross.
Given Mary’s entire life, pondering things in Her heart, telling the water folks at Cana “Do whatever He tells you”…..BEFORE His miracles time, witnessing angels, and all the rest, pretty much asured her she would never be abandoned by God in any stage of her life…. even as Christ died before her eyes.
And, I suspect John being the Beloved to Christ, would have been beloved to Mary, had Christ spoken zip on the Cross on the matter.
Number 9 by the author was a stretch for me, for him to make the point he did. I see the Cross moment as a final goodbye on the part of Crist, to the two who meant the most to him on Earth; NOT a prioritization of pastoral family stuff. That was weak writing, and stuck out very poorly.
I suspect it will mislead pastoral families as stated, giving rise to my comment in rebuttal.
Blessings to you, WineInTheWater!

report abuse

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz ...

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives! ...

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below. ...

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The ...

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy. ...

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.