Dang it Jim, I am a pastor/shepherd, not a teleport tech.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
36 When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. 37 “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! 38 On your knees and pray for harvest hands!” Matthew 9:36-38 (MSG)
277 Practise the virtue of hope and, with God as your motive, even when you find it hard, persevere at your work and try to finish it well, convinced that those efforts of yours are not useless in the Lord’s sight. (1)
I learned last week that another one of my students in my lay ministry classes has been accepted into a seminary program. It is a humbling thought, to realize how many guys I have taught over the years are now preparing to be ordained, or are in seminary. Three of them will be ordained in the next 6 months, another went home before he made it. These men all have left careers and embarked on a journey that is harrowing, that will result in being set apart for a life that will demand great sacrifice and large time investments.
Somehow, I was involved in helping them to make such a huge division. ( Of course it might just be, hey if he can do it… we can as well!)
Not only will this vocation demand sacrifices, it will also demand patience, and the wisdom it takes to not only be patient, but to envision the benefit of patient endurance. I put as the title of this blog, a geeky Star Trek reference. But it is one I think both young pastors (and seminarians) and the churches they work with need to understand.
For the churches, a pastor isn’t the transporter tech, as if we can push a button and we can send you to a place where everything is perfect, and you will find happiness and health. For the pastor to help you, you have to let him do more than press a button, or say a prayer during church. Our work is by your side, helping bring Christ’s healing to your lives. Helping give you hope, assuring you of God’s mercy and love. You need not fear us, for unlike the transporter tech we aren’t going to hand you a red shirt and then push the button. (That’s a geek reference – the guys in the original Star Trek who wore red – they never came back, except for Scotty)
For the pastors, you can’t shepherd at a distance, you have to be there with the sheep. You will get dirty, your time won’t be your own, you will worry about these people. You’re time will not be your own, you will spend many hours in study for the joy of seeing people amazed by God’s grace. You will be in the mud of politics, you will see the human spirit broken and crushed, you will deal with self-righteousness, and people who will set themselves over God. You will witness them determining what is good and right in their eyes, despite God calling it sin. You will wish for that transporter/time travel button at least once a week, and phasers set to stun (and sometimes kill!) You want to help, but you have to realize, that we call it spiritual growth, spiritual development for a reason.
We have to be there, shepherds called and set in place by God. Given this responsibility, and the work to do will demand more than we are capable of, save that God is the one empowering us, and guarding our hearts and mind, even as He does with out people.
There is a reward though, when we see them baptized, when we nourish them with Christ’s body and blood, when we see them rejoice as the incredible measure of God’s love is seen, even in part, by His people. For our efforts aren’t useless in the Lord’s sight, for He assures the work of His word.
It is an awesome thing to see men answer the call, to see their hearts’ break, as the they go to work in the harvest and care of souls. May many many more come…
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). The Forge (Kindle Locations 1129-1131). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.