Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Best Things A Church Can Do For It's Pastor

I don't know who authored this; several variations have been posted to the internet without attribution. Nevertheless, it is good advice and appropriate for Clergy Appreciation Month (October).


Make him a minister of the Word. Fling him into the office, tear the “office” sign from the door, and nail on the sign “STUDY.” Take him off the mailing list. Lock him up with his books and his typewriter and his Bible. Slam him down on his knees before text, and broken hearts and flick of lives of a superficial flock and a Holy God. Force him to be the one man in our surfeited communities who knows about God.

Throw him into the ring to box with God until he learns how short his arms are. Engage him to wrestle with God all the night through and let him come out only when he’s bruised and beaten to be a blessing. Set a time clock on him that will imprison him with thought and writing about God for forty hours a week. Shut his mouth forever spouting remarks and stop his tongue forever tripping lightly over every non-essential. Require him to have something to say before he dares break the silence.

Bend his knees in the lonesome valley. Fire him from the PTA. Cancel his country club membership. Burn his eyes with weary study. Wreck his emotional poise with worry for God and make him exchange his pious stance for a humble walk with God and man. Make him spend and be spent for the Glory of God; rip out his telephone, burn up his ecclesiastical success sheets; diffuse his glad hand. Put water in his gas tank. Give him a Bible and tie him to the pulpit and make him preach the Word of the living God. Test him; quiz him; examine him. Humiliate him for his ignorance of things divine. Shame him for his good comprehension of finances, batting averages, and political infighting. Laugh at his frustrated effort to play psychiatrist. Form a choir and raise a chant and haunt him with it night and day, “SIR, WE WOULD SEE JESUS!”

When at long last the pastor dares assay the pulpit, ask him if he has a word from God. If he does not, then dismiss him. Tell him you can read the morning paper, digest the nightly commentaries and think through the day’s superficial problems and manage the community’s weary drives and bless the sordid baked potatoes and green beans ad infinitum better than he can. Command him not to come back until he’s read and reread, written and rewritten until he can stand up, worn and forlorn and say, “THUS SAITH THE LORD.”

Break him across the board of his ill-gotten popularity. Smack him hard with his own prestige. Corner him with questions about God. Cover him with demands about celestial wisdom and give him no escape until he’s back against the wall of the Word. And sit down before him and listen to the only word he has left; God’s Word. Let him be totally ignorant of the downstreet gossip. But give him a chapter and order him to walk around it, camp on it, sup with it, and come at last to speak it backward and forward until what he says about it, rings with the truth of eternity.

And when he’s burned out by the flaming Word, when he’s consumed at last by the fiery grace blazing through him, and when he’s privileged to translate the Word of God to man finally transferred from earth to heaven, then bear him away gently and blow a muted trumpet and lay him down softly, place a two-edged sword on his coffin and raise the tomb triumphant, for he was a brave soldier of the Word, and ere he died, he had become a spokesman for his God.

1 comment:

Stan T said...

"And He placed the man in the Garden to tend and keep it."

"But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it."

"For I have given to them the words which You have given Me . . .Those whom You gave Me I have kept. . ."

"He said to him, "Feed My lambs. . . He said to him, "Tend My sheep. . . Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep."

"Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch . . ."

Pastors have two responsibilities: From Adam to the Ephesian elders, the verses above show that not only should pastors learn the Word and preach it soundly and clearly as your article so eloquently states; but they also should stand upon the topmost pinnacle of the watchtower to watch for the approach of the wolves and lions to warn the flock. If pastors sequester themselves in deep study, it must also be done with the intent of meeting the enemy on the battlefield of truth. The flock needs both a feeder and keeper in a shepherd, for that is the example of the Good Shepherd.