Weekly Thought – August 4, 2020
Fred grew up as a PK (preacher’s kid). His father pastored small Baptist churches, attending to the spiritual and physical needs of men and women throughout the dark days of the depression. Fred befriended pastors throughout his life. Even in his death he demonstrated his respect as he asked five ordained men to preach his memorial service. For the next weeks excerpts from a piece written with the title “A Layman Looks To His Pastor” will be the selections.
Please pray for Christian higher education. Many of those serving as Presidents retired during the last few years. Those assuming the responsibility of the role are facing great challenges. We need men and women trained in excellence, academically and spiritually.
A Layman Looks To His Pastor
When asked to speak to a pastors’ conference at a large denominational university I was given the title: “A Layman Looks At The Pastor.” I felt this was judgmental, since scripture tells us not to judge another’s servant. Pastors are the servants of God. Sometimes they forget this and behave like they are servants of the laity.
I changed the title and it made a big difference in the tone and content: A Layman Looks TO His Pastor. This is a personal view of what I have shared with my pastors during the years. It is not inclusive, of course, and not a dissertation on pastoral responsibilities to the church at large.
1) I want my pastor to teach me how to think about God more than just what to think about Him. Plato said the great teachers awaken the teacher within the pupil and then the pupil becomes his own teacher for his entire life. My pastor is not responsible for my spiritual health any more than my doctor is held responsible for my physical health. He is to help and guide me, but I must assume the final responsibility. To transfer that charge to my pastor would be wrong.
2) I would like for my pastor to be my spiritual dietician, based on my gifts, opportunities, and situation When I go to Mayo, the dietician studies my medical records and recommends specific intake which will optimize my opportunities and health. I have tried different “menus” over the years finding what fits. Currently I emphasize: the awe of God, the understanding and use of prayer, and the presence of the Spirit. I stopped calling my morning time “Devotions” and now speak of it as my “Spiritual feeding time.” This includes the Bible, the ancient saints, and renowned preachers of the past. These six or eight sources provide a balanced diet. Not every day is a spiritual high any more than every meal is a memorable one, yet each is necessary and useful. Hopefully, spiritual feeding produces what Chambers calls “conscious repentance and unconscious holiness.”
I am grateful for the pastoral care of those who were concerned for my development, giving me observations, articles, books, and recommendations, all of which nudged me along the right path.
3) I ask my pastor to remind me he is not my agent tasked with making a better deal with God then I can get. Too often we are tempted to ask the preacher to pray because we think God will listen to Him more than He will to us – that is not scriptural. I want my pastor to tell me it is my responsibility. This is good for the pastor to avoid the temptation of subconsciously believing in substitutionary grace or at least tacitly letting followers believe in it.
This week carefully consider: 1) What do I want my pastor to know? 2) Which of these points stands out as applicable to me? 3) How can I encourage my pastor?
Words of Wisdom: “I stopped calling my morning time ‘Devotions’ and now speak of it as my ‘Spiritual feeding time.’”
Wisdom from the Word: “We proclaim him by instructing and teaching all people with all wisdom so that we may present every person mature in Christ.” (Colossians 1:28 NET Bible)