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Sunday, October 08 2006

"The clergy are those particular people within the whole Church who have been specially trained and set aside to look after what concerns us as creatures who are going to live for ever: and we are asking them to do a quite different job for which they have not been trained."  Mere Christianity

I find Lewis's remark about the job of the clergy rather refreshing in the midst of a church and society which pulls the clergy in so many different directions.  In some segments of the church the pastor is encouraged to be a political activist.  In other branches of the church he or she is pushed to be the C. E. O., building and maintaining a great organization.  Yet other parishioners look to the pastor to provide marriage and family counseling.  And the list goes on. . . .

Now certainly pastors may engage profitably in any or all of these endeavors.  But if any of these activities become the overwhelming focus of pastoral ministry then to that extent the pastor is giving up the one thing he or she can do best--and that is to prepare others to live for eternity.

Jesus' apostles knew this temptation as much as any modern-day member of the clergy.  And the apostles show us as clergy how to respond to such temptation:

In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Grecian Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.  So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, "It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables.  Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom.  We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word." (Acts 6:1-4)

Perhaps if we clergy would return to a focus on the word of God and prayer, while also raising up other leaders to take on the other important tasks of the church, then we would see the same results as the first church in Jerusalem:

So the word of God spread.  The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith.  (Acts 6:7)

Dear Father, as a shepherd of your flock, help me to focus on the one task which you have specially trained me and set me aside to do: preparing others to live for eternity.  I need the help of your Holy Spirit to focus on the ministry of your word and prayer.  Please give me that help that I might honor and glorify your Son and my Savior Jesus, in whose name I pray.  Amen.

Posted by: Will Vaus AT 05:13 am   |  Permalink   |  Email

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