Contend Earnestly: How to treat your Pastor

Thursday, December 21, 2006

How to treat your Pastor

I received this quote from a friend via email who is a pastor on the East Coast. A great reminder of why James tells us that not many should be teachers (James 3:1). I have heard that John Knox, upon learning that he had been called by the Lord to preach, shut himself in his room and wept. May we call our Pastor to a high standard, and lift him to that standard in prayer.

How to treat your Pastor:

"Fling him into his office, then tear the "Office" sign from the door, and replace it with a sign that says, "Study." Take him off the mailing list. Lock him up with his books and his typewriter and his Bible. Slam him down on his knees before texts and broken hearts and the flick of lives of a superficial flock and a holy God. Force him to be the one man in the community who knows about God. Throw him into the ring to box with God until he learns how short his arms are. Engage him to wrestle with God all the night through, and let him come out only when he's bruised and beaten into being a blessing. Shut his mouth from forever spouting remarks and stop his tongue from forever tripping lightly over every non-essential. Require him to have something to say before he breaks the silence. Burn his eyes with weary study. Wreck his emotional poise with worry for the things of God. Make him exchange his pious stance for a humble walk with God and man. Make him spend and be spent for the glory of God. Rip out his telephone. Burn up his success sheets. Put water in his gas tank. Give him a Bible and tie him to the pulpit. Test him, quiz him, examine him. Humiliate him for his ignorance of things divine. Shame him for his good comprehension of finance, batting averages and political party issues. Laugh at his frustrated effort to play psychiatrist. Form a choir, raise a chant and haunt him night and day with, "Sir, we would know God." When at long last he does assay the pulpit, ask him if he has a word from God. If he doesn't, then dismiss him. Tell him you can read the paper. You can digest the television commentary. You can think through the day's superficial problems and manage the weary drives of the community and bless the assorted baked potatoes and green beans better than he can. And when he does speak God's Word, listen. And when he's burned out finally by the flaming Word, consumed by the fiery grace blazing through him, and when he's privileged to translate the truth of God to man and finally is himself transferred from earth to heaven, bear him away gently. Blow a muted trumpet. Lay him down softly and place a two-edged sword on his coffin and raise the tune triumphant, for ere he died he had become a Man of God. "


Seth McBee said...

I would look at this quote completely different if it had not come from a pastor but a congregant. Two things I really liked in this quote:

1. Require him to have something to say before he breaks the silence. (too many pastors/teachers need to know this, I am one of them)

2. Knox's use of the word "when" He basically is saying if you have a true pastor he will be "burned out by the fiery flame of the word"

thanks Justin for the quote

Justin Evans said...

Good point about the origin of the email (from a pastor vs. a congregant). It would be a different flavor if from a congregant, but it would show that they have a good grasp on his calling, nonetheless!

Just to be clear, I do not know the original source of the quote. The comment about Knox is related in content, but as far as I know he did not write this quote.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the quote Justin. As far as I can tell folks can trace it back at being quoted by John MacArthur in a sermon but no ones knows the origin beyond that.

Justin Evans said...

Joe, I'm impressed you could make that much of a connection! Thanks for the info.

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