I have a soft spot in my heart for pastors. Many people do not understand the role of a pastor simply because few people are in his midst as he conducts his business.
I was chatting to a lady this evening who lives in another country. She mentioned how happy she was to be able to speak to her pastor about certain struggles she has gone through over a few years. She said of her pastor, “He has a pastoral heart!” Wow … that is one of the best “compliments” any pastor could receive from a genuine, well-meaning fellow believer in his congregation.
Today, I received a wonderful, encouraging message from lady in my congregation. In reading the message, I quickly saw that this lady is an intentional believer with spiritual maturity on her side.
Its people like these two ladies who motivate a sincere pastor to work harder, be more diligent and serve the body better for the glory of God. It is impossible for Christians in any church to know the makeup of a pastor. Unless you are a pastor’s wife or a PK (pastor’s kid) you will never know the struggles of a pastor … and that is not your fault nor anyone else’s fault. That is just the way it is. When thinking of, when praying for and even when speaking to your pastor, remember: a pastor is as human as you are. Never mistake a pastor to be some superhuman person. He is as human, as fragile, as weak and as strong as you are at the best of times.
A pastor is as sinful as you are. Many are of the belief that pastors are “Holy Joes”. The Bible never sees pastors like this … in fact, the Bible is very clear about who sinners are!
Ro 3:10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
Ro 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.
All are sinners, including pastors. Pastors ought to know better because their full time calling is to study God’s Word to teach it and to pray for the Body. The terrible reality is that too often we are the worst sinners!
A pastor struggles with what you struggle with. Pastors also get caught up in worldly matters and struggle with politics like everyone else. We also want to have our penny’s worth heard. We struggle with crime because of the unfairness of how the guilty seem to get away with their deeds … even when they have raped, murdered and stolen from poor innocent people. We struggle with hurt. Believe it … pastors also have feelings. It might sound strange but they do. We are as human and as sinful and as feeling as any other person.
A pastor needs to work harder spiritually that you do. He might know the Word better at times, but his calling could easily stand in the way of His relationship with God. He can be so concerned about doing his “work” to the best of his ability that he loses the spiritual dimension in the sense of personal application. Handling the “Holy Things of God” could become so normal that sensitivity might be lost. It is for this reason that a pastor needs to be on his guard all the time. He needs to make certain he separates his personal devotions from his sermon and Bible study preparation. This is also true when it comes to prayer. There needs to be a clear separation between personal, private intercourse with God and intercession for the congregation he serves.
A pastor must be God’s man to God’s people. He must never give the people what they want. It is true there are many huge megachurches. To grow that way, the pastoral team is careful not to offend. The way they do business is giving people what they want, messages that make them feel good about themselves. One term they seldom, if ever, use is the word “sin” and all the other words that mean the same thing. However, God’s man must be God’s voice to God’s people and those who are in the church assembly.
Have you ever wondered why Paul told young Timothy:
2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 4:1 In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
Too often, people don’t want 2 Timothy 3:16 and 4:2. Rather they want to satisfy their own desires and itching ears (v3). Like Timothy, the true man of God will honour God and not man. He will love man … so much so that he will tell man what God wants man to hear for man’s eternal benefit.
A pastor has the greatest work to be found on earth. Just think of it. He has the great privilege of serving the One, True, Living God … the God of Creation. Yes, the God who spoke and out of nothing created all things that exist. This is who the pastor works for! Not that any other career such as a heart specialist or an eye specialist or an accountant or lawyer or shop assistant or truck driver or cleaner’s work is not important.
All work is important … but the work of being an agent, taking the Holy Words of God in the power of the Spirit to dead souls … and at times, by grace God raises that dead soul to life–get this–to eternal life. That’s right, the soul born again will escape eternal hell and live in eternal glory … and the pastor is God’s agent to bring the Life Giving Word to lost souls! He also has the privilege of getting the saints of God ready for eternity. No career can be more important, more fulfilling and more exhilarating than the pastor’s. Pray for pastors to be faithful to God, standing on His Word, serving the saints and seeking the lost.
Dear God, thank You for the office of the pastor-teacher. As you empower men to be godly and caring, mercifully raise up others, for the harvest is plentiful but there are few workers. Father, may You impress upon all pastors the need to be singular, not being distracted, to serve You for Your glory and for Jesus’ sake. Amen.