Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Why Pastors Don't Have It Easy

"For this I was appointed a preacher" (1 Tim. 2:7).

Three reasons pastors don't have an easy job:

First, the devil and world (not to mention the pastor's own sinful flesh) are dead set against the repentance and Gospel he preaches, despite containing the most loving message ever heard.

Second, sometimes members of the congregation will oppose the pastor when he is trying to be faithful to God's Word, the church, and the people's souls.  They may leave, threaten to leave, or say the pastor should leave.  This is especially difficult for a young pastor, and Paul's letters to Timothy and Titus offer the best guidance available.  God remains in control!

Third, it can happen that when the pastor turns to his ecclesiastical supervisor for support in a position he has taken, he will not receive it.  [Pastors make mistakes and need always to be open to correction, but I am speaking here about when they are being faithful to the Word.]  This lack of support is the hardest to bear, because now the pastor feels alone and is tempted to doubt.  But the Lord Himself stands by him and will give him courage and peace.

The flip side is that many pastors experience the joy of supportive, grateful congregations.  I am one of them!  And God blesses the church with many wise, strong, and fatherly supervisors.  They don't have an easy job either, and we must pray for and encourage them!

But now you know what makes your pastor's job pretty tough.  It has to be this way.  But maybe you will look at him a little differently, and then do what you can to make it just a little easier.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Bring, Cling, and Sing

"...by clinging to Him" (Deut. 30:20).

The dryer sheets I recently bought promised on the box to control static cling.  Because when it comes to your clothes, cling is not a good thing.  But when it comes to your heart and God, it is!

"Cling" is an Old Testament word for love, obedience, and trust in God.  It means "to stick to."  See Psalm 22:15 and Proverbs 18:24.  "Cling" was a favorite word of Martin Luther.  And Katie, his wife, is believed to have said, "I will cling to Christ as a burr clings to a coat."

No better spiritual advice can be given than to:

Bring - Bring your sins to God.  Leave none of them behind.  Confess them.  They are what God wants from you most.

Cling - Cling to Christ and His word of forgiveness: "Take heart, child, your sins are forgiven" (Matt. 9:2).  Cling to Christ as a burr clings to a coat.

Sing - Sing for joy that God loves and forgives you!  Keep a joyful heart, thankful, and loving toward all.

I shared this message with my congregation on Sunday.  After service, a young lady put on the finishing touch.  "We should call this good kind of cling," she said, "'ecstatic cling.'"  Right on, Rachel!  You got it!