Eternity is rushing towards us.
You and everyone else must be ready.
I have been reading through the book of Jeremiah recently. I noticed that it mentions pastors a lot, and it got me thinking. A pastor is the shepherd over the flock. A shepherd is one that guides animals or in this case, people. A shepherd back in the day had a great responsibility to protect the herd from other animals and robbers. A shepherd was to protect the sheep. So a pastor would be someone who guides people into spiritual truth and builds up the people of the church. One thing I read called a pastor a ‘spiritual overseer.’ Now, let’s take a look at how Jeremiah looks at pastors during his time.
“The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.”
Pastors transgressing against the Lord? Does that sound familiar?
“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.”
God is so gracious. God gives us men, and not women pastors, to feed us with knowledge and understanding. They help instruct us in Biblical truth. They take the time to study and prepare to enrich our walk with the Lord. Are you thankful for the man of God that He has put above you at your church? Do you encourage this man? I mean a card, a letter, a gift, kind words, etc.? Being a pastor is a very demanding job. Seems like everyone wants a piece of your time. The burnout rate is very high amongst that profession. A good dose of encouragement can go a very long way.
“For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.”
Pastors are you seeking the Lord? If not, the danger is to become hard-hearted. The people will see it after a while.
“Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.”
Pride is a dangerous thing for any one of us, but especially for pastors. People seem to treat them a little differently and a little bit special. That is okay. But the key is that pastors do not let that go to their heads.
“As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee.”
This goes not just for pastors, but for all of us: Are the words coming out of your mouth glorifying the Lord? Are they Biblical? Then why did I see a study one time that 40% of all pastors did not feel comfortable preaching absolute truth to their congregations? If you are a pastor and that is true about you, at that point, it either means you need to repent, or you need to step down and stop being a pastor. If the pastor doesn’t feel comfortable preaching absolute truth, how will the congregation preach boldly once they walk out the door after your sermon?
“The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness.”
The verse before says that the pastors and the people would not hear the Word of the Lord when it was spoken. There are always consequences for that.
“Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.”
Pastors are not supposed to scatter. They are supposed to draw people closer to the truth of God’s Word and closer to the Lord. Truth should be the only thing that scatters people.
If I was Satan, I would convince pastors to speak about anything but Biblical truth to their people. I would get them more worried about being relevant than being Biblical.
One group at a church I spoke at recently actually told me they were trying to be relevant to the culture they live in today. The only problem is that the Bible never uses the term relevant. Why? It is irrelevant that is why! Glorify the Lord in your church services, and quit worrying about the rest. If you are trying to please men instead of God, that is how one falls into this trap.
Pray that your pastor won’t please men. Pray that he will shoot it straight with the congregation since that is what we all need. They won’t worry what the big money givers want them to do. They will do what is right, because it is the right thing to do!
I was watching a video of a prominent youth/college/young singles group. It is growing leaps and bounds. The guy who runs it said, “It is better than clubs.” What an absurd statement. As churches, we don’t compete with clubs. We never have, and we never will. When I watched a video from one of their events, it was all fleshly with its light show, music, dancing, etc. It was very deceptive, and many people could not discern it.
I had an 8th grader walk up to me one time after a speaking engagement and ask, “You don’t care if we like you, do you?” I thought that was a most interesting comment to ask a speaker! I asked him what he meant by it. He told me that he comes to youth events all the time, and the speakers will tell jokes so you will like them and buy their products. He said, “you don’t care about that do you?” He was a tad shorter than me, so I got down on one knee, looked him in the face and said, “No, I don’t care if you like me. It is a non-issue with me, because probably after tonight, I will never see you again. What I do hope is that you become born again and reach many people for the Lord before I see you in heaven one day.” I liked that young man. He had good wisdom at a young age.
When even the lost can figure out how goofy, disgusting, etc. pastors have become, how come many people in the church can’t figure that out? Is it because the visible church is really not the true church?
Encourage your pastor. Find a way to do that. You can’t always be critiquing them. Pastors and leaders in the Christian community need to be critiqued. There is nothing wrong with that. But it sure seems to be easier to listen to someone who has also complemented me along the way than just criticized me. I know I say the word ‘okay’ too much when I speak. I know I say Revelations when the book is called Revelation! I have had plenty of people point those things out to me. That is fine. I want to be teachable. So don’t come out of the blue with your pastor on something that he is teaching. When you are an encourager, he is more apt to listen to you when you give a good Biblical critique.
If you are a pastor that is reading this, keep a teachable spirit. It keeps you humble. A pastor emailed me to let me know that he had read One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven. He said he was on his knees weeping, and said, ‘why don’t I have a heart to reach the lost like Peter and Paul? And why doesn’t my congregation have a heart to reach the lost?’ That is going to change he said. You can see this man’s humble heart, and he is teachable. That is an important quality for all pastors and all of us to have.
One thing I pray all the time is ‘Father do not let me be deceived so that I will not deceive other people.’ Any teacher has a huge responsibility. If we get off base in our teaching, it will affect many lives in the wrong way. Keep a teachable spirit all the days of your life.
Pastors, stay in the Word of God. Keep preaching Biblical truth. Do not worry about the number of people in the audience, and the number of people in Sunday school this year compared to last year. If you were a pastor in New Orleans and Katrina came through, I think your numbers would be much different from one year to the next! Don’t be relevant. Be Biblical.
If you feel led, pass this along to your pastor, with a nice note of encouragement.
Many thanks pastors for all the time you put in to studying, counseling people, visiting people, evangelizing and reaching the lost outside the four walls of the church, etc. Finish well for the Lord. He is worth it!
Until the nets are full,