A man is an elder only if his character and spiritual labor say so.
That means every elder is an elder before he is an elder. Every legitimate elder shows himself qualified in character and competence before being appointed to the office. This brief essay will focus on competence.
Josh, over at his blog Keep Thinking, writes on the character of Nathan Drake in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. I credit the Uncharted series as one of the primary reasons I still game today. The mixture of humor, drama, adventure and platforming, set in a cinematic world, reminded me that video games could be fun. I’ve since loved Nathan Drake as a character, especially in regards to his relationship with Elena.
Don’t get me wrong. Uncharted 1 is not the most narratively deep or thought-provoking game. It’s a fast and furious treasure-hunting romp. Moreover, there is plenty of objectionable content (thankfully, nothing sexual) that players should be mindful as they play. However, despite all its flaws or over-used tropes, the game nevertheless offers a tidbit of truth worth remembering. In a world where it’s easy to be more focused on earthly treasure and pleasure, there are some things that are just more important. Friendship is a gift from God that should be treasured. Relationships where we give and receive love are worth more than anything that glitters or glows.
God is such a better dad than I am, and I think that’s what Jesus’ point is. When his followers wanted to know how to pray, yes, he gave them a template they could follow, but he gave them something so much more. Instead of giving them the magic formula, the special incantation that will bring God out like a genie from a bottle—Jesus gave them something so much better. When asked about how to pray, Jesus gave them an example but then said, “I want to let you in on a secret—you want to know how to pray, but let me tell you about the one to whom you are praying.” Jesus was saying that when we call in the night, it’s good to know the character of our dad.