Sunday, August 21, 2011

God's Help - Not Self-Help

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I've been told that I don't have what it takes to be a pastor. That I'm not well-suited for the parish. Thankfully, I haven't been told that recently. But I'm pretty sure that every pastor hears something along those lines at some point in their ministry.

I'm not entirely sure what qualifies a man to be a pastor in the minds of the people who have told me that I don't have what it takes to be a pastor. But I do know what the Bible says about the qualifications of a pastor.

He must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive ... He must not be a recent convert ... he must be well thought of by outsiders (1 Timothy 3:2-7 ESV).

It seems to me that these qualifications are not attainable without help. Help from other people, but most especially help from God.

It is the "help from God" that interests and intrigues me. I have been called by God to be a pastor. I didn't really strive to be a pastor on my own. The closest I come to that sentiment is that I answered God's call with all my heart. What I mean is that I didn't fight God when He called me. I agreed with Him. I want to be a pastor. I enjoy being a pastor.

Still, there are times that I question God's judgment about me being a pastor, just as there have been - at times - other people who also question God's judgment.

In that, I'm not alone. I'm in pretty good company, in a manner of speaking.

God called Moses to be the pastor of His people, Israel.

I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt (Exodus 3:10).

Here is how Moses responded to God's call:

"Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?" (Exodus 3:11)

they will not believe me or listen to my voice (Exodus 4:1)

 I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue(Exodus 4:10)

Oh, my Lord, please send someone else (Exodus 4:13)

I get the feeling that Moses did not want to be what God was calling him to be.

How God didn't take Moses' no for an answer is what sustains me in my calling.

God didn't tell Moses that he was wrong in his self-assessment. Instead, God basically said, none of that really matters because what I'm asking you to do is going to be done by my power, not yours!

But I will be with you (Exodus 3:12)

"If they will not believe you," God said, "or listen to the first sign, they may believe the latter sign. If they will not believe even these two signs or listen to your voice, you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground, and the water that you shall take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground." (Exodus 4:8-9)

I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak (Exodus 4:12)

Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do.  He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.  (Exodus 4:14-16)

When God calls us to do something, He doesn't expect us to do it by our own power. When God calls us to do something, He also gives us His power to do it.

I've been called to be a pastor, a leader in a church and a leader of people. That may not be your calling. You may be called to be a writer, or an encourager of others, or a teacher, or a salesperson, or _______________.

No matter what it is that God is calling you to do, it will involved sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Your reaction may be "I can't do that!"

God's answer is, "do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you..." (Matthew 10:19).

You can do it because God not only calls you to do it, God gives you all the power you will need to do it.

1 comment:

JC Dude said...

I'm not a pastor but that's sound advice for all of us...thanks bro'