Pastor -- Be Something
Ephesians 4: 1; 2 Timothy 1: 9
Why did God call you into the ministry?
I'm not sure that any of us could adequately answer that question.
Paul never ceased to wonder why God called him.
And neither should we.
And no man should desire to be a minister of the gospel who has not had a divine call to do so.
The word, "vocation" or "calling," as used in Ephesians 4: 1 applies to all Christians.
All Christians are called out of the darkness of sin into the light of God's salvation.
In 2 Timothy 1: 9 when Paul speaks of being "called... with a holy calling," he is looking beyond the call
to salvation to the additional call of a dedicated life set apart to the ministry of the gospel.
Being certain of this call, we should "walk worthy ("worthily, adverb) of the vocation wherewith (we) are called."
"Walk," means the manner of the life which we live.
"Worthily" carries the idea of weight.
On one side of the scales, you place the weight of your "calling."
Then, on the other side, you should place a manner of life whose weight will be equal to the call.
And, if this be true of Christians generally, how much more it should be of those who have received
this "holy calling."
There are several things that should be said of the pastor who aspires to walk worthily with respect
to his calling.
He should be something.
He should believe something.
He should do something.
He will receive something.
The pastor should be something.
The idea of walking suggests that which people see in the life which you live.
Someone has said, "The world looks at the preacher out of the pulpit to know what he means when in it."
We must so live, that what we do, does not speak so loudly that people cannot hear what we say.
We know that when the pastor succumbs to the sins of the flesh; it becomes big news.
When that happens, he brings shame upon himself, the Christian cause, other pastors, and most of all,
upon the Lord Himself.
To the pastor who does not practice what he preaches may be applied the words of Paul.
"Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest not thou thyself?
Thou that preaches a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
Thou that sayest a man should not committed adultery, dost thou committed adultery?
Thou that abhors idols, doest thou commit sacrilege?
Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law, dishonourest thou God?
For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles (pagans) through you."
(Romans 2: 21-24)
Pastors, we must always be on our guard.
We must never lose the sense of the sacred.
Familiarity breeds contempt.
We, who are constantly dealing in the sacred, should beware lest we should lose the sense of
the "holy" in our "calling."
We must shun professionalism as we would the plague.
The Bible must never become merely a tool of the trade.
The Bible is the written record of God's revelation to men.
And we have a special stewardship to interpret and declare it to a lost world.
Prayer must never be empty or high-sounding words uttered in the pulpit, before a civic club,
in the home, or beside the hospital bed.
Prayer must be a holy experience in which we bear our soul to God.
Pastors must never lose their sense of compassion.
The God, Whom we serve, always had compassion on the fainting multitudes.
No person to God was ever just a number.
It is a sad day for any congregation when its pastor ceases to be compassionate.
It is even a sadder day for that pastor.
The springs of love have died within that pastor.
The sense of divine mission have dimmed and maybe died within that pastor.
That pastor will become nothing more than an ecclesiastical robot going through routines which have
no meaning and which bear no fruit.
A preacher must learn the fine art of patience.
Notice, how patient Jesus was with all those about Him.
Indeed, how patient He is with us.
Jesus took people where they were and led them to where He wanted them to be.
Jesus knew that the four-letter word, "wait," will solve more problems than the four-letter word, "push."
One pastor tells of how he tried to lead his church into a building program.
Everyone was ready to push the program forward except one wealthy man.
With a little "push" the program would have gone forward, but one valuable man would have been lost
in the process.
So, the pastor proposed that the church should wait.
Several months later, this same man came to the pastor, and said that he was wrong in opposing
the building program.
He was ready to proceed immediately and was willing to serve as chairman of the committee to raise
the money for it.
"Wait" had won the victory, where "push" would have been only a partial victory
marred by a divided fellowship.
Pastor, you can bet your life on it -- if one person openly opposes your program, there are more
who are silently opposed.
Too many pastors are like tempests in teapots.
They stay up to their necks in hot water.
Dr. J. B. Gambrell said of such pastors, "Some men, if they lived in Ireland, where there are no snakes,
would have snakes shipped in to them just for the sake of killing them."
Dr. Gambrell gave wise counsel when he said, "We should learn the fine art of plowing around stumps.
They will soon rot out, if left alone."
The greatest virtue which preachers must cultivate is that of humility.
The exalted nature of our calling and the value placed upon it by others make us
susceptible to the sin of pride.
There is nothing more subtle and more vicious, which will rob us of our influence
and ineffectiveness as pride.
Henry Fielding strikes to the heart of it with these words: "There is not in the universe a more ridiculous
nor a more contemptible animal than a proud clergyman."
How many of us would dare to preach this sermon:
"Humility And How I Obtained It."
Here is the outline:
1. I am humble.
2. I am proud of my humility.
3. I am getting humbler all the time.
4. I deserve a great deal of credit for my humility, because I have so much of which to be proud.
5. I am humble even when I am bragging, for I am much better than I say that I am.
I don't believe that any of us would be so foolish to preach such a sermon, but it is even more foolish to live it.
You remember how the bickering and strife of Jesus' disciples wounded His heart as each sought
an advantage over the others.
As someone has said, "An upright pastor asks, what recommends a man;
a corrupt minister asks, who."
Before seeking positions of honor and privilege in the church, community, or denomination,
we must heed Jesus' words spoken to His disciples.
James and John had asked for seats on Jesus' right and left hand in His kingdom.
The other apostles were indignant, not because of the request but because they had beat them to it.
Jesus replied, "Ye know that the princess of the Gentiles (pagans) exercise dominion
over them... but it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be (may will to become) great among you,
let him be your minister (deacon, menial servant); and whosoever will be (may will to be) chief among you,
let him be your servant (slave): even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto,
but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." (Matthew 20: 26-28)
A young ministerial student asked his Bible professor to recommend him to a larger church.
The wise professor said, "Now, don't worry about that. Just build a big fire where you are.
Someone will see your smoke, and come over to investigate it."
Pastors, we must be something.