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::Devotional:: ‘Something Your Pastor Can’t Preach’

July 22, 2009

The Bible is full of passages that are difficult to preach.  Some are difficult to preach because they are not easy to explain, others are difficult to preach because they might not be suitable for mixed company, some are difficult to preach because they are known to step on a few toes, and some are difficult to preach because they are about the pastor.  We come to one of those passages today in the book of Galatians.  Since I am not a pastor preaching to a congregation, I have a unique opportunity to share with you something perhaps your pastor can’t preach.

 

In the devotional series “Live By The Spirit – Part 2” we looked at Paul’s instructions to Christians on living out the law of Christ; loving your neighbor as yourself.  Paul advised us to carry one another’s burdens and not to compare ourselves to another believer to determine our own righteousness, and he also said that those who were ‘spiritual’ had a responsibility to gently restore those who have been caught in sin.  Who are these ‘spiritual’ people Paul is referring too?  Are these adult Christians, senior citizen Christians, Christians who act responsibly in their decision making?  No, Paul is referring to believers who have proven to be mature through the study and application of God’s word.  This could apply to a small group leader, a sunday school teacher, or even a parent.  However I believe the truest application is to those who have been called to be pastors.

Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.  Do not be deceived:  God is not mocked.  A man reaps what he sows.  The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.  Galatians 6:6-8

The responsibilities of  a Pastor

The Bible speaks of the calling of someone to be a pastor as a gift that the Lord Jesus has given them for the express purpose of equipping believers for carrying out the work God has created them to do and to help them mature as believers in Christ.  Maturity in Christ comes by the study of God’s word, then the application of God’s word, and finally an affirmed confidence in the whole process.  The Word of God has been given with the purpose of teaching, rebuking, reproving, training, and encouraging the body of believers.  This means that a pastor has been called of God, to use the Word of God, to equip the people of God, for doing the work of God.  The Bible refers to this as “rightly dividing the word of truth” in 2 Timothy 2:15.  He is the undershepherd of the Gentle Shepherd, a role all too often misunderstood, mistreated, and unappreciated.

The burden of a Pastor

If we were to take some time and go back through each book of the Bible we would find that the men of God who proclaimed the Word of God often felt depressed, discouraged, suicidal, inadequate, lonely and even crazy.  Why is that?  Don’t we often look at the job of a pastor as being somewhat of a cake job?  Only having to work one or two days a week, occasionally visiting people in the jail or hospital, or going on mission trips to the Bahamas? My friends, a pastor is not the chairman of our social club with the responsibility to publicly speak once a week.  A pastor is responsible for the stewardship of God’s Word and the lives of those God entrusts to his care and training.  Those men God has called to be a pastor, who truly understand the weight of their role, carry a burden many of us can’t even imagine.

It is reported that a pastor by the name of John Welsh, son-in-law to John Knox “often left his bed in the middle of the night, wrapped himself in warm plaid, and interceded [in prayer] for the people of his parish.  When his wife would beg him to go back to sleep, he would say ‘I have the souls of three thousand to answer for and I know not ow it is with many of them.'”  Walking With The Giants, Warren Wiersbe.

The responsibilities of a Pastor’s congregation

Paul says that those who receive instruction in the Word should take care of those who instruct in the Word.  Does that mean financially?  Does that mean physically?  Does that mean we should make sure we get him a present for Pastor appreciation month?  Yes.  It means that a man who rightly divides the word of truth with fear and trembling before the Lord deserves the support of those he teaches.  I do not believe that this means we should park a new sports car in the driveway of our pastor just to say thank you, but I do believe that it means we should care for our pastor just as Paul commanded us to carry one another’s burdens in Galatians 6:2.  Supporting a true pastor is one of the best spiritual investments we could ever make in our lives.  Paul said that if we expect to reap the benefits of the hard labor of the pastor, studying and teaching the Word, without a willingness to support him we are mocking God and can expect a week harvest.  However, providing for a pastor so he is able to focus on fulfilling the call of God upon his life, to train us with the Word of God, is like planting a field of seed and reaping a bountiful crop at harvest.

I believe there are three ways we can provide for a pastor; financially, physically, and spiritually

  • Financially – provide an income and financial support so that the man can adequately care for himself and his family
  • Physically – provide help in the areas of ministry.  Volunteer wherever you can and whenever you can.  A pastor has been called to equip “us” to do the “work of the ministry” not to do it all himself.
  • Spiritually – pray for your pastor.  Pray that he will have the wisdom to know God’s will, the boldness to do God’s will, and the humility to remain in God’s will

I don’t know any pastor who would preach this message about himself to his congregation.  Anyone who did would more thank likely receive a pretty cold response.  However, the truth of the word remains and the reality of the situation deserves our consideration.  Are we truly supporting our pastors financially, physically, and spiritually?  If not, what can we do to share all good things with him?

-Stay Rooted Col 2:7-

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