Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Perfect Pastor

I went to a meeting with some fellow ministers and pastors recently. As we were leaving the meeting I overheard one pastor ask another pastor how he was doing. The pastor answered, "I'm pretty beat up. A few of the people at the church..."

I walked to my car and didn't keep listening. It wasn't any of my business... but I did understand the feeling of being 'beat up' at times. It happens in ministry. It happens in any occupation where you deal with other people. Sometimes the hurt and beat up feeling is done unintentionally, other times, not so much. But either way, it happens.

It was cool to see this pastor genuinely care for and love on the other pastor. They weren't competing for congregation members, or debating theology and doctrine. They were loving one another as friends. As brothers. As family.

They were treating one another as God instructed us to in John 13:35, "By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

The pastor, who voiced his feelings and frustrations, was genuine and real. He wasn't putting on a mask or pretending to be alright. He confided in someone and got some help. And hopefully, he received some healing and encouragement from his friend. It was awesome to witness this kind of love!

It was also cool to see the other pastor respond right away. He didn't look at his phone or watch and make an excuse as to why he didn't have time to help. He didn't blow his friend off and tell him, "I'll be praying for you!" and then go on his merry way. He took the time and made the effort to be a friend and a brother. He loved.

Love is intentional. Love is active. Or like DC Talk sang, Luv Is A Verb. (click here to watch the music video)

I'm not sure what the situation was which caused the pastor pain, but I do have a guess. When people put their spiritual leaders on a pedestal and expect perfection, they will be disappointed. They will be disappointed every time. Pastors are people. We hurt and feel pain. We are broken vessels. We will make mistakes. We will forget things. We aren't perfect.

Even though we are nowhere near perfect, we do want to point you towards Someone who is perfect. We want to point you to Jesus. Hopefully we can do that in our words and in our teaching. But even more than in our words, hopefully we can live that out in our lives and we can be examples to others and to our church family!

We aren't perfect pastors, but we do know of one perfect Pastor. And hopefully we are trying to live and love and serve as He did.

Photo Credit: freeimages.com/photo/hands-1435369

I once heard a story from someone that saw a car hit a dog and then drive off. The person that witnessed the accident felt absolutely horrible, and got out of their car to try to help the injured animal. When he went to go help the dog and tend to him, the dog went into fight mode. He growled and showed his teeth and wouldn't allow the person to help. The dog didn't know the person had good intentions. The dog wouldn't even let the person get close enough to find out for himself. The dog was snarling at its potential savior. The dog was responding out of pain.

Sometimes in ministry pastors will see that ugly side of people, just like the ugly side of that dog my friend saw. We help people through the muck and yuck in their lives, and sometimes they lash out in return. It's weird how that can happen.

Honestly, I thank God for opportunities to help people that react in a similar way to that dog though. It helps me grow. It helps me see where I am in my love walk. It's a good indicator of whether I'm serving the Lord and others for the right reason or not.

Am I doing this for appreciation and praise? Or am I doing this for Jesus?

We all can be like that dog with God at certain times in our lives. We so easily forget all He's done for us and for all the times He's been there and come through for us.

I see myself in that dog: scratching, growling, biting, and showing my ugly side. God is there and He still wants to help me despite my attitude and actions. Serving and loving people that react out of their pain helps me understand God's unconditional love just a little bit more. And for that, I am very thankful.

Pray for your pastors and other spiritual leaders.
Reach out to some of your former spiritual mentors or pastors and thank them.
Ask yourself why you are loving and serving others. Is it for praise and appreciation? Is it without ulterior motives? Or is it truly for them and for Jesus?

Shake the earth!
- Joel

1 comment:

  1. This was a great read, Joel! I liked your example with the injured dog! Keep writing my friend!