WHEN GOD CREATED PASTORS
BY MARCEAL CLARK
When the Lord created pastors, the angel looked on with interest. Timidly peering over God’s shoulder, the angel asked, “What’s that you’re stuffing him with, Lord?” God took another scoop of stuffing and poured it into Ms creation. Then almost as an afterthought, He added another and another. “That is called Compassion,” He said. “But, Lord, isn’t this too much? Won’t people call him a compromiser?” God smiled and then for good measure added yet another scoop. “It won’t be the first time, Angel. Don’t you remember that in the days of my flesh, because I showed compassion on the sinner, 1, too, was called a compromiser? I want to fashion the pastor in my likeness.”
Then the angel nearly had a heart attack. Excitedly, he tugged on God’s sleeve. “Lord, do you realize you got carried away and gave him three pairs of eyes? Won’t he be considered a freak?” God worked and smoothed and smiled, content with His creation. “A pastor is sometimes required to see through closed doors, to see things behind his back, as well as things before him. A pastor is required to see the unseen, to see pitfalls and obstacles, and to see farther down the road than anyone else.”
The angel was silent as God fashioned the ears (large enough to hear many, many confidences), the tongue (small enough not to repeat them), the legs (strong enough to run with patience the race), but couldn’t contain himself when God fashioned the enormous heart. Bursting with curiosity, he asked, “Lord, why such a large heart?” With a glow of satisfaction, God positioned the huge heart within the bosom of His pastor. “Godly pastors must have a shepherd’s heart and a shepherd’s attributes. He must be gentle and tender and true, but also, righteous and stem and tough.”
The angel timidly leaned over and touched the pastor. “Lord, is he durable? Will he wear well? Will he break? What’s he made of? Not plastic, I hope.” God smiled. “Don’t worry. He’s tough! He’s made out of good stuff through and through, not merely thin skinned veneer. He’s made to withstand being walked on, kicked about, and stabbed in the back. See how elastic he is? He’s made to bounce back!”
God was putting on the finishing touches when the angle squinted, bent down to look more closely, then asked, “Lord, what is that you have put in his hands?” God was sober as He answered, “My rod and my staff. A pastor must be a shepherd and a good shepherd delights in his flock–delights in seeing that they are well-fed, safe, and flourishing under his care. It is a comfort and consolation to his sheep to see the rod and the staff in the shepherd’s hands. The rod is an instrument of protection to drive off predators. I have placed my rod in the shepherd’s hand. It is an extension of God’s mind–it implies authority. The Scriptures are an extension of God’s mind, will, and intentions. Therefore, the rod in the hands of the shepherd is a symbol of the Holy Scriptures.”
The angel knelt down and with reverence gently touched the rod then the staff. “What about the staff, Lord? This long stick with the funny looking crook on the end.” God picked up the staff and adjusted the crook. “The rod conveys the concept of authority, of power, of defense against danger, whereas, the staff speaks of all that is long-suffering, comforting, and kind. The staff is used to draw sheep together in the fold for communion with one another. It is used to draw sheep close to the shepherd. The staff is useful for the shy and timid sheep that normally tend to keep a distance form the shepherd. The staff is also used for guiding sheep into new and unknown paths. It is used to rescue sheep who fall and those who slip under fences.
Just as I have given the rod as a symbol of the Holy Scriptures, I have given the staff as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. It is the shepherd’s task to use the rod (Scriptures) and the staff (Spirit) to protect, feed, and guide his flock.” “Lord,” the angel ventured hopefully, “Looks like he should have a fairly easy job, don’t you think so?” The Lord groaned, “Alas! It seems that even though the shepherd feeds his sheep and protects them against predators, there are sometimes in the flock the “fence crawlers” – those that are not content with their side of the fence. The grass is greener (to them) on the other side. They are restless and discontented, wanting the best of two worlds. It seems that no matter what field or pasture the shepherd feeds his flock, discontented sheep will search all along the fence looking for a loophole to crawl through to the other side. It is not that they lack good pasturage. It is simply an ingrained habit-never contented with things as they are. Often when they force themselves through some such spot in a fence, they end up feeding on a bare, brown, burned-up or inferior pasturage. But they never learn their lesson and continue to fence crawl.
Sheep of this nature produce more problems for the shepherd than almost all the rest of the flock combined. It would be bad enough if they were the only ones who did this, but sheep with this nature tend to want to teach others the same old tricks, leading them through the same holes and over the same dangerous paths. The shepherd must use his rod and staff to try to save all his flock, even the restless and discontented. But sometimes, in spite of all he can do to give the best care, they still want something else. At this point, to save the rest of the flock, as the discontented slip through the fence that last time, with sadness he lets them go.”
With an aching heart, the angel was as sober as God bent over and gently added the final ingredient-the tears, dripping from Ms own eyes.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A PASTOR
BY CHARLES GRISHAM
Have you ever tried preaching somewhere in the neighborhood of 156 sermons per year for almost 27 years to the same people?
Have you ever tried to get along with above a hundred people, please them all and yet please the Lord, also?
Have you ever pondered over a way to move people to attend every service and somehow get involved in some capacity in the work of God?
Have you ever spent hours in prayer and preparation and feel that little was accomplished because someone did not agree with what God had given you to preach and criticized you to other people for it?
Did you ever try to bind up a broken heart or re-establish a broken home?
Did you ever pour out love to convert a soul or save someone from backsliding and get no response?
Did you ever try to lead, but few would follow?
If not, you cannot know what it means to be a pastor.
WHAT I OWE MY DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT
BY EARL R. STORY
I owe him respect as an ambassador of God, sent to lead me to a better way of fellowship with my brethren, instead of a selfish, uncaring existence I might be guilty of, but for his guidance.
I owe him my trust, that he may be free to serve the district unhampered by faultfinding and criticism.
I owe my superintendent prayer, that God may make his services a blessing to all fellow ministers in our district.
I owe my superintendent the protection of kindly silence by refraining from repeating the slander of unkind gossip that would worry him and prevent him from doing his best.
I owe him enough of my time to help him in his work whenever he may need me.
I owe him kindness and encouragement when vexations and annoyances make his work difficult.
I owe my superintendent consideration not to interrupt and hinder his work by financial worry.
I owe my superintendent my attention when I hear him speak, as he may have something very beneficial to say that would bless me for years to come.
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY LOUISIANA CHALLENGER, OCTOBER 1966, PAGES 5,10. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHT AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.