A Rejected Comment :(

I hate rejecting a comment!  I would love to have an active dialogue with just about anyone, but there are some people who will only talk to you in order to hear their own voice.  Their minds are made up and there is nothing you can do to change them.  They joyfully use your blog as a way of promoting their own, usually off-beat, ideas.

I got a response to a blog post recently that rips on pastors and churches and calls on pastors to get out of Christ’s way.  Well, of course I agree with that!  But this person, who neglected to sign his name, meant that we should stop preaching and teaching.  Is that the answer?  I don’t think so.  My goal is simply to let Jesus lead me.

What set this guy off was a reference I made to “his church,” meaning the pastor.  He failed, as others also do, to realize that there is a possessive of inclusion as well as a possessive of ownership.  Grammatically, I said that the pastor was part of the church; in the same way I might say that I visited “my mechanic” recently.  I don’t own the mechanic or his shop.  I am simply one of his customers and I look forward to continuing my patronage to him.  Well, anyway, it gave this guy a chance to rant.

What concerned me was his closing remark: “Step down from YOUR pulpit and be a brother like everyone else, and stop using the Lord for personal gain.”

This is worth a post.  I suppose I could remind the guy that “the laborer is worthy of his hire.”  That’s from the Bible, you know.  I could try to convince him that I, and many others, have been called by God into this role.  There are a lot of things I could use to validate the pastor’s role in the life of the church, even as a paid professional.  But all of these things would just feed his bitterness toward the elitism he sees in the church. 

Instead, I would simply like to ask who doesn’t “use the Lord for personal gain?”  There are people who claim that the message of the gospel should always be given freely, and I confess that I lean toward that myself.  But isn’t all truth God’s truth?  The pastor learns how to use the Scripture to encourage people.  A doctor learns how to use medical knowledge to help people.  A plumber learns how to use mechanical knowledge to help people.  All are servants of the Lord, or at least the ones who believe are.  The idea that paid pastors should not receive a wage for their time and effort is not all that different from the idea that only paid clergy are true servants of the Lord. 

You see, if we believe that Jesus calls His people to different tasks and gifts them in different ways for His purpose, we eliminate both the elitism of the clergy and the mercenary aspect of the work they do.  To suggest that a pastor is somehow spiritually better (or more important to the kingdom) than the car mechanic is wrong, but so is the idea that the pastor has no right to be fed through his work. 

The Lord calls us, gifts us, and blesses us.  All of our jobs are blessings from Him and all of our income is provided by Him.  The sooner we understand that, the sooner we enjoy one of the most practical applications of the message of grace.

Thoughts?

4 Comments

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4 responses to “A Rejected Comment :(

  1. Kay

    When I read this, I was a bit saddened. Maybe I am missing the point.

    Paul, Peter, John,etc., but majorly namely Jesus, corrected/.taught ‘in love’. None of us ‘have it together’ that we don’t need correcting. I get the Lord’s correction/ discipline on a regular basis. This is how children, or in my case, adult Christians, know (as in really KNOW) that the Lord loves us.

    Too many in The Church are Pharisiac. They didn’t want to be told anything, therefore, Christ’s execution, Stephen’s stoning, ALL but John was executed (not because the Pharisees didn’t try).

    God tells us that He disciplines whom He loves….therefore He gives us other Christians (sometimes I hear ‘out of the mouth of babes’), or non-Christians, that there are subjects He will address from the pulpit, or from those who walk ‘the walk’.

    When the Disciples were out healing, teaching, being brutally beaten, they were fed, taking gifts from one Church to another, some were tent makers/fishermen/doctors of the souls/ministers of The Gospel. Were they paid? OH yes!! Before Christ was crucified, did Jesus and the Disciples have a ‘pot’ where gifts were given to them for their livelihood? OH yes!! Judas held that ‘pot’ even when he was stealing. At the “well”, didn’t the Disciples leave Jesus to speak to the Samaritan woman so they could go buy food? OH yes!! The ‘workers’ were/are worthy of their pay.

    Elitists? In The Church? I think there is a mix up with politics. I’ve never seen an elitist yet. There are folks that have more than others. I’m in that situation. There are folks that have less than others. Again, I too am in that situation. Which part of me is the elitist? There are gifted and talented serving and not serving saints. Which are the elite? Zero.

    Dave, I think you are so deep it may make you look “above” others. IF you weren’t ahead of me, I might not be able to go forward as securely. Thank you for being a Disciple, Discipler, Minister, one able to receive ministry.

  2. Kay, maybe you are just sensitive to pictures of sad babies. 🙂 Actually, it is a bit sad. The guy didn’t read anything else I had written, apparently. He was so focused on his own thing that he jumped on the chance to force it on the rest of us. It makes me wonder if he is just frustrated about not being a pastor himself. There are a lot of people who think that pastors are a notch above others and they become very bitter when they realize they were not called to that position.

    Thank you for your observations about Jesus and the disciples living on the gifts that were given. I hadn’t really thought about that, but it is certainly true. Paul and the others did as well. Our church had a cookbook made many years ago called, “All God’s Chillun Gotta Eat.” He provides for all of us.

    We are at different points in the journey, all of us. But the distance between us is so small when we consider the distance between where we are and where we could be. Praise God for His patience!

  3. Amen to this post. Being a pastor (and I am not) is one of the hardest jobs on earth. Everyone expects everything of their pastor (well, most everyone), and most want the thing they want to happen, to happen their way!

    Pastors are humans. How often we forget that… Pastors need a safe place just like everyone else. How often we forget that… Pastors need people to help them in the minstry rather than being told to “get out of the way” – even if it was said with a misunderstanding. How often we need to be reminded.

    Pastoring is not for wimps!

    David, a long time ago some friends of mine were troubled by the fact that their pastor made a mistake. They acted like he’d committed the unforgivable sin or something! I told them “In regards to pastors, God has been sending clean water through dirty pipes for longer than either of us have been alive… so get over it… none of use would be so uptight about others weaknesses and sin if we took time to remember our own once in a while.”

    You hang tough. Thanks for this post. It needed to be said, and I can think of no one better to say it because you understand grace… so it was said graciously. Thanks so much.

    • And thank you! Yup, pastors make mistakes. Deal with it. Maybe God uses us broken vessels so we can recognize other broken vessels when we see them. I would be nothing except for Him and I am nothing without Him. Hallelujah!

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