The Latin phrase, “Usus magister est optimus” is most frequently interpreted to mean “practice makes perfect.” This saying has been widely used, and most frequently applied, in areas of competition. The fact is, if you are a serious contender in any arena of competition then you do not merely ‘practice’, you ‘train’. Those who are serious about what they are doing will usually enroll in institutions that specialize in the areas they are interested in. With the aid of the experienced, and skilled instruction received, individuals are able to rise to greater levels of mastery than would have been achieved otherwise. While I appreciate the phrase, I feel as if it is slightly misleading due to the fact that we will never reach perfection in and of ourselves. I may not be able to be ‘perfect’, but I know that I can be my ‘optimus’ or best.
Many references in the Bible about living for God are personified through competitive terminologies. Paul would frequently elude to the Grecian games in his writings concerning this topic. Consider the following texts: 2 Tim. 4:7, 1Cor. 9:24-26, Phi. 3:13-14 and Heb. 12:1-2. In each of these, we see that living for God requires commitment and includes an earnest endeavor on our part. Paul was by every right an effective leader. We know that the only way to effectively lead is by example. That is why Paul would encourage us in 1Cor. 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” As ministers, we are constantly leading people in living a life for Christ. Because of the eternal importance of this role, we must strive to be our ‘optimus’ or best.
As a pastor, the importance of having skillful and trained leadership working for the church is invaluable. We must recognize that the pastor cannot answer every demand of ministry in the local church. Once again, Paul shares insight to ministry, “And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.” I Corinthians 12:28. I want to point out two gifts he listed that are normally looked over. What are the gifts of “helps and governments?” The word ‘helps’ means to support or participate. The fact is, many positions within the church are not specifically mentioned here: Media Ministry, Sunday School Teacher, Pianist, etc. All of these support the local ministry. The word ‘governments’ in the original Greek means to steer or direct. While a ship has one captain, there are normally several others that aid in steering toward the correct course. The more trained one is in any of these areas, the greater an asset they become to God’s kingdom. As a pastor, I look for those that are committed enough to seek the training in ministry necessary to be their ‘optimus’ or best.
Rev. Chad Roberts
The Pentecostals of Marshall