My wife and I are visiting a couple we dearly love but only get to see occasionally. The men are in one room; the women in another. I am listening as my friend speaks of some ideas that have been of paramount importance to him in his conduct of pastoral ministry. I find myself marveling at his wisdom and spiritual depth. Suddenly, almost impulsively, I say to him, "Do you think it's possible that God is laying the tracks for you to become a bishop some day? You'd be a great pastor to pastors."
He gasps and calls out to his wife in the other room. "You have to hear what Gordon just said." The women join us, and he asks me to repeat myself, which I do. Now, both friends seem incredulous, and he finally asks. "How could you know that in the past two weeks I have been asked to stand for election to a bishopric? We haven't shared this with anyone."
What follows is a long discussion that assists our two friends in clarifying those issues that are facing them in this potentially life-altering opportunity.* * *
I am leading a board meeting in which I have the privilege of being the chairman. As one person after another speaks in favor of a motion, I find myself observing one board member who sits in silence. When all the extroverts at the table have exhausted their noisy thinking, I turn to the silent board member and say, "Would I be correct if I said that something bothers you about this discussion?"
She seems embarrassed by my question, but after a pause says, "I wasn't going to say anything. But since you asked, I'll take that as an indication that I should say that I have a strong check in my spirit about this matter despite the fact that I seem to be ...