Over the last couple of days, I have been reminded, by a couple of friends, of what is central to the life of the pastor. One friend was asked it quite directly, "After over 30 years of pastoral ministry, what do you think are the three most important things to being a pastor?" His answer:
Love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your mind, and with all your soul.
Love your neighbor as yourself.
Love your Bible.
I would add only one more, merely to make explicit what is there inside the first; namely, Love Jesus.
There are so many sirens that threaten to pull the pastor away from this simple but serious calling. And as a pastor, I need to be reminded of these chief pursuits. My people do not need a CEO. They don't need a leader (although they do need leading). As I was reminded today, "They don't need a slickly run organization headed up by a hip front man who has everything running just so."
What they desperately need is a follower of Jesus Christ, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.
They need someone who has spent extended time, each day throughout the week, with the King. They need the pastor to come down from the mount just like Moses, so covered with the glory of God he needs covering and his people need shades. They need to know that the pastor has been with God. Is enraptured with Jesus. Is anointed with and by the Spirit.
They need the pastor to be stunned by and in awe of Jesus Christ.
They need the pastor to love the Sacred Writings. To be on a constant quest to discover new riches within the text, things never before seen (by him). They need the pastor to be so excited and passionate about the life-altering, joy-inducing, mind-blowing revelations found in the Bible that he can't wait to tell others.
I rejoice at your word
like one who finds great spoil. (Psalm 119:162, ESV)
They need the pastor to be eager to "Preach the Word!" in so many areas of life.
To make the discovery in the text, and share it with his family, exclaiming "Look! See! Do you see!?"
To make the discovery in the text, and share it with the church staff, exclaiming "Look! See! Do you see!?"
To make the discovery in the text, and share it with the person in the hospital room, exclaiming "Look! See! Do you see!?"
To make the discovery in the text, and share it with the elders, exclaiming "Look! See! Do you see!?"
To make the discovery in the text, and preach it as worship before the congregation on Sunday morning, exclaiming "Look! See! Do you see!?"
To make the discovery in the text, and share it with an unbeliever, exclaiming "Look! See! Do you see!?"
To make the discovery in the text, and write articles and posts and letters and notes, exclaiming "Look! See! Do you see!?"
Furthermore, the church needs the pastor to know that this is enough. "It is enough, pastor." That this is what he should give himself to. That he is not a manager, but a holy man of God. To strap him to the mast of Biblical fidelity, love of God, obedience to the Son, and filling with the Spirit, when all the sirens of the world, the flesh, and the devil come calling.
I am thankful for my friends this week, who have reminded me what it is to be the pastor.
And to my beloved people at Calvary Community Church, who have extended to me so much grace for 5+ years, and call me pastor, I commit to you that I will, with God's help and by his grace:
Love the LORD my God with all my heart, and with all my mind, and with all my soul;
Love my neighbor as myself;
and, Love my Bible.
And that in our encounters, and every Sunday, I will preach my heart out, opening the Sacred Writings in order to point you to all the riches of God's glorious grace, found chiefly in the person and work of his Son, Jesus Christ.
So help me God.
See you Sunday.