Hebrews 13:7- Appreciate your pastoral leaders who gave you the Word of God. Take a good look at the way they live, and let their faithfulness instruct you, as well as their truthfulness. (The Message Bible)
This is a verse that strikes fear in the heart of many pastors, me included. Sure we want to be appreciated. Who doesn’t? But who wants to have their lives closely examined, especially with regard to their faithfulness and truthfulness. As in most relationships if you are around long enough you eventually come into conflict with others and, whether it’s your fault or theirs (and who ever really knows) things can spiral out of control until someone leaves or pro and anti-pastor camps arise in a congregation. We tend to look at the faults and deficits in all our leaders whether they are political, academic, or religious. We have all heard stories about what is wrong with neighboring pastors or former pastors and it safe to assume that they are told about present pastors. I know of pastors who have broken their marriage vows or misused church funds. The media is quick to broadcast the fall of popular religious figures. All that said, I look at my colleagues and see people who believe that God has called them to minister to his church. They do it in different ways and styles. They come down on different sides of important issues. Only a few feel successful in this climate of church decline. While being sinners with all the tendencies to selfishness and the emotional limitations of humans in general, they get up every morning and prayerfully try to live out that calling with God’s help to the best of their ability. So thank you to the writer of Hebrews for the plug. Thank you to all who express your appreciation, to me and others. We try to be role models of faithfulness and truth. When we aren’t we try to be role models of grace. You can too in the coming week.