A Pastor’s Work

I have blogged before about how heavy I feel the responsibility of being a pastor. When I think of the awesome responsibility God has given me as His under-shepherd to His precious people, I am humbled.

Humility is a good thing.

Since the pastor is “out in front” at every gathering, speaking to the people, leading the church in a particular direction, people tend to view their pastor as their leader. And without humility, the people’s esteem can “puff up” a pastor. Unfortunately, I’ve been around pastors who have gotten a little too, shall I say, “puffy.”

So this dose of godly wisdom from J.C. Ryle is just the preventative medicine I need:

“We should beware of resting our claim to the people’s attention on our outward [pastoral] call only. It will never do to tell our people, ‘We are your ordained ministers, and therefore you must believe and follow whatever we tell you.’ On the contrary, we must tell them to prove our teaching by Scripture, and not to receive it unless it is scriptural. That man has no right to expect the attention of his people, who does not preach the Gospel and live the Gospel. The rule of Paul is clear on this point. He told the Thessalonians to esteem their ministers very highly ‘for their work’s sake’ (1 Thessalonians 5:13). When there is no ‘work’ done, it is vain to expect the people’s esteem.

Pastors, do the work of humbly working as God’s servant to His people. Use your position to serve, not to presume upon others.

Church attendees, make us pastors “prove our teaching by Scripture.” We don’t get to say, “Because I’m the pastor and I say so!”

UPDATE: This post went into my thinking for my book Shepherd Leadership: The Metrics That Really Matter.

Reach Out

Lepers were the most shunned of all Israelites in the Bible. It didn’t matter how much you used to love them, once they were diagnosed with leprosy, they were the untouchable. The unapproachable. The unlovable.

So here is an absolutely remarkable verse: Jesus reached out His hand and TOUCHED the leper.

There is such a power in the human touch! This unclean, despised, outcast, friendless leper simply asked Jesus to heal him. But Jesus went farther.

Jesus replied, “I am willing,” and then He touched him.

The Greek word for reached out implies that the leper remained a good distance away. Even though he longed for the restoration that the touch of Jesus could bring him, he kept a barrier between them. Jesus transcended his barrier.

Then the Greek word for touched is an intense word. It means to cling to someone. Jesus didn’t just lightly touch this hurting man, He threw His arms around him and CLUNG to him!!

He didn’t just heal this man physically, but restored him emotionally as well.

Who are the outcasts around you?

Who seems to be unlovable, untouchable, or even unapproachable?

Friend, you just might be the touch of Jesus for them that brings healing, wholeness, and restoration. Will you let Jesus CLING to them—and heal themthrough you? Will you reach out like Jesus reached out?

Oh to be His hand extended
Reaching out to the oppressed
Let me touch Him
Let me touch Jesus
So that others may know
And be blessed
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