Remembering the High Cost of Unholy Living

By Jeff Straub

Editor’s note: The May/June issue of the Baptist Bulletin explored the phenomenon of ministry collapse and offered suggestions for mitigating this ever-present danger. This article is a continuation of that discussion.

“Another man has fallen” is a comment I have heard all too often in nearly 40 years of ministry. “Falling into sin”—as if sin is a hole in the road that an unsuspecting driver doesn’t know exists—is a poor choice of words. Generally we choose to sin. We choose to ignore the warning signs; we choose to cultivate habits that make committing sin easier for us; we choose to flagrantly disregard God’s warnings. We choose to sin. Sin is a choice, and Christian ministers, sadly, sometimes choose to sin.

My greatest fear in ministry is to not finish well—running the race for years, only to disqualify myself in the last laps. I may never receive the accolades of some peers for doing extraordinary work in human eyes, but I would like to receive from my Lord a “well done, good and faithful servant” at the end of my journey (Matt. 25:23). I have for years sought the company and counsel of older ministers with whom I could fellowship so I might learn their secret to personal fidelity. Recently I wrote a tribute regarding Dr. Rolland McCune, my esteemed professor of theology at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, commending a well-run race. For most of his 85 years (I don’t know at what age he became a Christian), he stayed true to the high calling that God placed on his life. He had a long marriage to Daisy; he did not deviate from his doctrinal commitments; and his personal life was above reproach. Eighty-five years of a race well run! If God tarries, I have 23 years to go.