“In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus….” (I Timothy 4:6).
On a crowded airplane, dad and his two-year-old son sat some rows back while Mom had to sit across the aisle and up several rows. When the plane reached its cruising altitude, Dad lifted Junior above the seats so he could see his mother.
“See Mommy? There’s Mommy. Wave at Mommy! See?”
Junior sees nothing but a sea of faces.
“See Mommy? Tell Mommy I love you. Say hi to Mommy.”
Nothing. Junior still has not found his mother.
Then, just as Dad is about to tire of this, the little boy exclaims, “THERE SHE IS! THERE’S MOMMY! HI MOMMY! HI MOMMY!”
The entire plane overhears and everyone smiles. Junior continues, “HI MOMMY! I LOVE YOU, MOMMY!”
Dad finally distracted his small son with a book.
Now, what Dad could not coax out of Junior, the child did naturally and normally and enthusiastically the moment he found his mother’s face.
Pastors often feel like Dad with Junior: Trying to coax the Lord’s children to do what they would do naturally, easily, and gladly if they only saw the Lord.
We lift up this church member and say, “See the Lord? Now, give!” “See Him? Now pray!”
We pray for that one and say, “Father, let them see!”
We hoist another one and say, “See the Lord Jesus? Now, come to church! Read your Bible. Forgive one another. Humble yourself. Love your neighbor.”
The church member stares and wonders what’s going on and why you’re making so much noise until the day he/she meets Jesus.
Then, they do all those things without having to be persuaded or brow-beaten.
That’s the work of a pastor, and it explains why it’s so difficult. It explains the anonymous letter that arrived in the church office saying, “We’re not used to our pastor harping on finances all the time.” Or, “I am offended by the pressure you put on us to bolster your self-esteem.”
They don’t get it.
So many in the congregation have never met Jesus. If they had, they’d be shouting, “There He is! I love you, Jesus! Thank you, Jesus!”
When the tax collector of Jericho announced he was going to reverse his lifestyle and start giving away money, Jesus said, “Today, salvation has come to this house!”
When he came to know Jesus, he became a giver and a lover. A worshiper and a faithful son.
As a child, Max Lucado sat in church beside his father staring at his calloused, mechanic’s hands. How deep were those callouses, the little boy wondered.
He decided to find out.
He took a straight pin from the visitor’s card and stuck it into the callous. Nothing. So, he pushed it a little deeper. Still no reaction. One more time, little Max pushed the needle in. Dad jerked, and then began making plans to use that hand on a certain child’s seat when they got home.
Lucado says all his adult life as a pastor, he has been doing that very thing: attempting to penetrate a callous with a point.
The work of a pastor.
Church members will let you know when you have reached a sensitive spot, pastor.
“Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, particularly those who work hard at preaching and teaching” (I Timothy 5:17).
God bless all faithful pastors and teachers.