Where Are the “Worthies”?


More than 200 years ago, John Howie wrote about a great generation of Scottish Presbyterians, my church’s faith ancestors, who fought to preserve their religious principles in the 1600s. Howie called these committed Presbyterians who gave so much for their Reformed faith the “Scots Worthies.”

One of my favorite Presbyterian factoids worthy of note:

The descendants of the Scots Worthies were so influential in colonial America that British leaders referred to the American Revolution as the “Presbyterian Rebellion.”

Where are the Worthies today? Those men and women devoted and dedicated to lasting principles, to Jesus Christ and His Church? Where are those worthy of emulating and imitating?

If I were to suggest that you and I are called to be God’s Worthies today, your impulse might be the groveling “We’re not worthy!” of Saturday Night Live characters Wayne and Garth:


Most Christians, Presbyterian or otherwise, acknowledge and confess the Biblical truth that we are all sinners, saved by grace.

“Uniquely,” says Donald McKim, “The church is the only organization where to become a member, one has to admit one is unworthy of membership!”

We are, we profess, ONLY saved by grace. Apart from the free, unmerited gift in Jesus Christ, we are indeed unworthy.

However, God’s Word asserts that we are given great grace in order to lead a life worthy of our calling in Jesus Christ.

Today, we often encounter and express “whatever” attitudes – whatever suits me, whatever fits my comfort zone, whatever asks less of me, whatever…

Jesus Christ continues to call us all to lead worthy lives in the midst of a whatever culture. A church of God’s Worthies manifests a “Whatever it takes” attitude.

In an oft-quoted speech, South African human rights leader Nelson Mandela reportedly said: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure… Your playing small doesn’t serve the world [emphasis added].”

Where are today’s Worthies? You and I are born to make manifest the glory of God within, not some of us, but all of us.

Where are the Worthies our world needs? God’s Word directs us to look within and among ourselves.