The word gift is defined as, “A present; any thing given or bestowed.” We give gifts at Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations and etc. We present the receiver with items we have purchased for their benefit and what they do with them from that point is their decision. However, should they abuse the gift or treat the gift with irreverence, we may just cease giving them gifts any longer. I wonder if God will ever reach that same point?
The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:11 the following:
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers…“
Paul lists 5 offices that are given by God to Israel and the church. These gifts are in the form of people. The one I would like to deal with today is the office of the pastor. Now, as a pastor, the last thing I would think of myself as is a gift. So, I’ll be writing based upon upon my thoughts of my own pastor, as well as a few other pastors I know personally.
There is another passage of scripture that reads in the same manner and it is Jeremiah 3:15:
“And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.“
My question to you, the reader, today is the same question posed by a missionary I recently heard to a church. He asked the congregation, “What are you doing with your gift?” What a question, huh? I would guess that some, if not many, do not consider their pastor as a gift from God. Quite possibly they may consider him simply the guy who yells at them Sunday after Sunday. He might be the one that is supposed to visit everybody, encourage everyone, have answers no one else does, devise ways to keep people in church, have a good reputation with everyone in the community and the list could go on. Some would never admit it, but they think him to be their babysitter who wipes their nose, feeds them with milk and keeps them pacified. In short, they desire to be coddled, not pastored. However, as I read Jeremiah, I am convinced that pastors are given according to the heart of God. This means, the pastor is to do the things which please the Father, not man. Ironically, this does not bode well for those who are governed by their emotions, social connections and other things not spiritual.
Pastors, not hirelings, spend countless hours in study and in prayer doing their utmost to fulfill the reason they have been given to a particular church and that reason is provided in Ephesians 4:12 and is three-fold:
- “For the perfecting of the saints”
- “For the work of the ministry”
- “For the edifying of the body of Christ”
Let us clarify the reasons given:
1) Perfecting – completely furnished.
– Jesus states in Matt. 5:48, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”
– The sense He speaks of is that of completeness and the pastor is given for that purpose.
– Paul wrote in Acts 20:27 that he had not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God. Doing so, Paul was able to write what he did in the previous verse, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.”
– Because he declared the WHOLE counsel of God, he was justified.
– We say this, because many only want to hear certain parts of the Bible and to be told stories rather than hear the truth from the word of God.
– Only by receiving the whole counsel of God can one be perfected. There are many half-hearted believers in churches, because they refuse to be corrected, instructed and trained.
2) Work – toil (as an effort or occupation); act; deed
– We are in the dispensation of grace, however this does not relinquish believers from duty.
– Jesus spoke more than once on serving, works and labor. He had a prayer request in Matt. 9:38, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
– The church has a duty to God to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone and everyone, both locally and across the globe.
– The gospel is not just telling someone, but it is also in the life of the believer to be lived out.
– The gospel is the death, burial and resurrection, therefore the life of the believer should be a life of death for the flesh, its burial and the resurrection of newness. Paul wrote, “I die daily.” Christ said to be His disciple, one must deny self, take up his cross and follow Him. Ironically, many fail to comprehend that it is to Calvary He will lead them, then to the grave.
– Without the gospel life, all that we do is in vain, yet without works, the gospel is a joke to those we stand before!
3) Edifying – architecture; building
– The pastor’s 3rd purpose is to build the saints of God.
– Many don’t understand this area either, for any good carpenter knows that when you remodel a home, you must tear things down.
– When God saves a sinner, spiritually all things become new. However, in the present world people will still see the same ole man or woman as before. The new spirit within the believer is to grow in the grace & knowledge of Christ and in doing so, the outward man will inevitably change before the eyes of those around.
– It is through this outward transformation people will see the the Spirit’s transforming work on the inward man that has already happened.
– I’m afraid that many are broken down homes sitting on sound foundations. Thank God for the foundation, but there’s no safe haven, there’s no walls or roof. Albeit, the foundation is wonderful, Paul writes about building on that foundation in 1 Cor. 3:11-15.
– We could liken the pastor to that of a contractor. He does not do all the work, but sub-contracts it out. Ironically, the believer is the sub-contractor. They’re the ones that are supposed to be doing the work on the home.
Where you attend church, what are you doing with the gift that God has given? Is he forgotten much of the time? Is he taken for granted? Is he expected to do, too much and much of which is not his job anyway? Is he expected to read your mind? Is he expected to say the right thing, at the right time, in the right way and never to offend? Is he just the guy in the pulpit you tolerate week to week? Is he not the person you would like him to be? Before you look at his failures and think ill of him, why not consider your failures first? I know he is the pastor, but try to be a blessing to him and then see what God will give you through your pastor.
In conclusion, let me give this synopsis. One seasoned pastor of 30+ years stated the following regarding the pastor:
“The demands on his life are unreasonable…his calling is inescapable…the machinery has has to work with is unworkable…the concepts he deals with are hard to grasp…success for him is nigh impossible.”
Many claim to have a failing pastor, but few, if any, truly acknowledge to be a failing church member in regard to their pastor. Their claim? He’s the pastor, he’s supposed to do that and be that…go there and be here…talk to me, but don’t bug me…be my friend, but be impartial…tell the truth, but don’t hurt my feelings…live right, but don’t expect me to.
Until He comes…