A Chuckle Then A Conviction

This morning I came across a scripture that my made chuckle a little. Every so often, God’s word makes you laugh.

The scripture is Hebrews 5:2 and it say’s

For every high priest taken from among men is appointed on behalf of people in the things relating to God, in order that he can offer both gifts and sacrifices on behalf of sins, 2 being able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and led astray, since he himself also is surrounded by weakness (LEB)

Even though we don’t have high priests anymore in the Christian Church, we do have pastors that serve the body similar to a high priest.

A pastor isn’t a job you just do. What does that mean? Anyone can fill a job role as a pastor. I know many people who are in pastor positions that are merely working because they were volunteers and they just filled a role that was vacant because the church didn’t want to search for a new candidate. But a pastor isn’t a filling position; a pastor is someone that has a calling from God to serve in the universal church.

As a pastor, I serve the church, whether it be the local church or the universal church. Though I am employed and paid by a church, they are not my employer because my employer is God and God alone.

God is my boss and leads my life. There were times when I thought I was in control, but God has proven time and time again that He orders my day. I must be obedient to that calling and respond accordingly.

What makes me laugh about this passage is that a pastor is called to handle with gentleness the ignorant and the weak. Oh man, I had probably a list of people that came to my mind when I read that passage, and I image the author writing these words with a list of people as well. And it just made me chuckle.

Then it hit me, how well do I handle the ignorant and the weak? I joke with people when they ask me if I would have been a lead pastor and I always respond with, “As a children’s pastor I get the blessing of when the immature show signs of maturity, as if I was a lead pastor, I get the curse of the mature acting with immaturity.”

That response always gets a chuckle and an “I know what you mean”reaction because the church is designed to a place for the weak to come and find rest. We deal with the ignorant the weak every day, and as a called pastor I need to better at showing gentleness to the people that serve. I can be bothered by their attitude, but I need to be gentle and continue to love on them so that they do not walk away from the faith that is already so fragile.

I need to continue to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.

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Reflections Of Being A Pastor

This November, I am coming up on nineteen years since I first accepted a ministry position in a church. Sure it was a part-time ministry in a small city in a church that struggled to get fifty people in its doors on a weekly basis, but it was a start.

I remember accepting the job and trying to figure out what it means to be a pastor. I figured out quickly that PG-13 movies were not all created the same as the first two movies that I played was Austin Powers and Mickey Blue Eyes. I learned that my college student eyes are entirely different than a parent’s eyes.

I am surprised I even lasted the whole year, but it was a good paycheck, and I was very honored to have the chance of pastoring.

Since that time, I got a Bachelors, and Masters degree in ministry had a few kids and served for sixteen years in full-time ministry. I had many years of struggling trying to know what it means to a pastor. I am pretty good at theology, I am no theologian, but I can sniff out a theology that isn’t biblical. I can hold my own on debates with Mormons and JW’s. I still chew on tough scriptures especially ones in the Old Testament, but my hope and faith are still rooted in Christ.

But pastoring is still tough because pastoring goes beyond theological debates on original sin, predestination or theories on revelation. I have sat at bedsides of elderly faith men struggling in death and a young kid on life support where parents are holding on a hope of a miracle before they say their last goodbyes to their children. I have been in homes of people angry over the church’s decision on a non-essential issue but at the same struggle with a teenager who is confused about their sexuality and doesn’t know how others will treat them.

It’s easy to open the gospels and see Jesus pastoring the people around him. He was blunt with some and thoughtful with others. He was angry enough to make a whip and turning tables but also quiet enough to change a crowd by drawing in the dirt. But to practice Jesus pastoring is more difficult than it appears. Because I know for me, I’ve been blunt when I should have been more thoughtful. I have been quiet when I should have turned some tables over.

Pastoring is more than theology, it’s living and loving with the people God has called you to be with every Sunday. It is a calling that isn’t about tasks and chores to be done by Sunday Morning, but a calling that involves your whole life.

I am not perfect, I have made mistakes. Thankfully there is forgiveness and grace from God.

To be an effective pastor, I need to know the hope that I have, and I need to follow Jesus in my everyday life so that people, whether they attend my church don’t, can meet Jesus through my life.

Hopefully the next nineteen plus years I continue to grow as a learner of faith but also more as a pastor that is closer to Christ.