Pastor Sam Bennett Devotional: Bill Starbuck, Lizzie Curry, and Defining Leadership


Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. (1 Timothy 3:2-4)

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Burt Lancaster as The Rainmaker

You may be familiar with the movie, “The Rainmaker.” Bill Starbuck (Burt Lancaster) is a charlatan selling multi-flavored hopes for unfulfilled dreams, including thunder to bring down rain that will quench the earth and grow the crops on the Curry family’s drought-stricken farm.

From the moment he enters the scene, Lancaster steals the show with self-interest and prolific lines. Lizzie Curry (Katherine Hepburn) knows better and shamelessly labels his bravado as “bunk.”

But, if our leaders are not to be bigger than life, then what are the attributes that make worthy Christian leaders today?

Fortunately, Paul shared his thoughts on the issue of pastoral care, in his epistle to Timothy in Ephesus, written above.

And, again Paul told Titus in Crete…

An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless — not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (Titus 1:6-9)

Good criteria for church leadership. Sound guidelines for identifying gifted secular leaders as well.