Word of the Day
Pastor, elder, bishop–by whatever title you may ascribe to him, this man is the God-appointed and God-anointed leader of the local body of believers. According to Scripture, this is always a man and never in Scripture is he referred to as a “priest”.
This man is in a very unique position in his own life, in his family, in the community and in the church. And it is a very wise man who understands what his calling demands. While he is never above sin, and being human like the rest of us, he has to spend time with God in prayer, in repentance, in confession and in consecration. He struggles with sin and with failure just as any other man. And it is imperative that he fully understand and live accordingly.
Let us look at the man who, being called of God into the “vocational ministry”, accepts the mandates that are laid upon Him.
I can remember well my own ordination service. Never was I more nervous nor humbled as I was that day and during that service. Rev. H. O. Worthy is in heaven now, but he is the man who licensed and ordained me.
In preaching the ordination sermon, he spoke to me and not to the church. The church was giving me a new study Bible that day, and he was to present it to me. As he preached directly to me, he held up the new Bible and admonished me to “spend time in this Book, read this Book, study this Book, know this Book, love this Book, live by this Book”. And he spent much time on admonishing me concerned the Word of God and my relationship and dependence upon it. He really hammered me about me reliance upon that precious Book.
And, then, holding the Book up and pointing to me with it, he said something else, something that I will never forget. He said, “More than knowing this Book, know the Author of this Book. Spend time with Him, get to know Him, learn what it means to love Him, to adore Him, learn what it means to walk with Him and learn how to live according to what He says.”
No better advice could ever be given to a young man who has submitted to the call of God on his life. And when this advice is taken seriously and practiced, this young man’s life takes a dramatic change. As he walks with God, spends private time with Him, is taught by Him, this young man’s eyes are opened to things he never dreamed possible.
He finds that he begins to love the people with a love that is beyond all explanation. He finds that he is spending more and more time in prayer, calling the names of each of his people in prayer, pleading with God to meet their needs, to protect them, to watch over every situation in their lives.
And when he ascends that pulpit, that blessed Desk of God, his heart will be heavy for the people. He will open that blessed Book and read those precious Words and then with deep conviction and love for God, he will begin to expound upon those precious Words.
And as he does so, he looks into the eyes of each of his hearers, searching for some sort of response from each one of them and again, with a heavy heart, he will plead with them on behalf of his God.
He receives phone calls in the most inopportune times of the day and night, but never does he get upset. Most of these calls are from some member of his flock who is going through things in his/her life that demands some sort of answers. So he/she calls on that young pastor to talk with them, to advise them, to pray with them. They are not looking for magic answers; they know better. What they are seeking is a heart that understands their plight, who is willing to weep with them, to show love in their times of difficulty and to lead them in prayer.
Standing by the bedside of a dying saint of God, he looks into the eyes of family members who are anxious and hurting. They know all about this thing called “death”. They have read and been taught by a faithful pastor about being prepared for this time, and prepared they are. And they know that their loved one who is lying on that deathbed is about to be ushered into the presence of their God, and they accept it. But it still hurts, it still leaves an empty place in their home and in their hearts.
And they look to that faithful pastor to give them peace, to share in their pain, to love them as they face such sorrow. And they need his prayers, and he prays with them.
But, this young man has learned something else as he walks with God, studies His Word, spends time in private prayer. And that lesson is that his family is a gift from God and he is to guard over them and his time with them. He learns, many times the hard way, that his family comes before his responsibility to the church and to his flock. He understands that his beloved wife is a gift from God(Pro.18:22), that his precious children are also a gift from that same God(Psalm 127:3-5). Because this family that shares his heart and his home are a trust from God, he must guard over them, pray over them, spend time with them and above all else, to love them the way Christ loved the Church(Eph.5:25-33).
O, the demands he must deal with! The time he must devote to his family and his flock! The times he feels so helpless in face of so many trying times! But he would never have it any other way. He has a call from God on his life and he loves what he has been called to do. He has such a passion for his work, his family, his flock, and the ministry that God has given him!
So he trudges on, many times so tired it feels he is not able to take another step. But take that next step he does, then another, then another, then…..
He is not paid sufficiently by his church. No faithful pastor ever is. They could never sufficiently pay him for all that he does. But, he never considers that, never frets over that and never does he, even in his own mind, demand that they up his salary. He is God’s man and he knows that his Lord with care for his needs, care for his family, care for his bills…he just learns to trust God’s provision and he is content…