Friday, March 20, 2009
Is it Just Me?
Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. (Psalm 119:114)
Back in October, my beloved bride, my grand boy and I visited some dear friends in Oregon. As I sat at their dinner table we discussed the ministry and its challenges. My friend made a statement that arrested my thoughts for some time.
He said, "People expect the pastor to be an expert at everything from finances, to family to legal matters. They expect him to be able to do anything, and we as pastors just can't be all of that." Now, this man has been a dear close friend, and a wise and trusted counselor for twenty five years plus. He pastors a great church. He has a wide and successful ministry beyond the walls of his church. He is a godly man; very competent, and very confident. He and his lovely wife have five fantastic children who all honor God and their parents with their lives.
I believe his statement to be one of perspective rather than experience. But I am left to wonder. Am I the only pastor out there who feels helpless at times? Am I the only one who runs to God every day to try to get some mess cleaned up? I seriously doubt it.
Young preachers are given this advise. Let your people know you have feet of clay, but don't take off your shoes to show them. We can tell our people the truth with confidence when we have none. Dr. Jack Hyles said, "A leader is one who hides his panic." The problem comes when we pastors, preachers, missionaries etc... begin to believe we have to be invincible. Faced with such a task, we quickly find ourselves in an untenable situation. We self destruct wondering why we are such failures.
Two verses have given me great comfort of late.
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
Is it not amazing that the same verse that uses the phrase, "strong confidence," also speaks of a, "place of refuge?" A refuge is a place to hide for protection. I have confidence in Christ because I can hide behind Him! I can get up on Sunday and preach with fire and with boldness. Those people never know the times I run to a dark corner and cry out to God, "I am so weak, and so tired! I am helpless! What a wretched excuse for a servant I am! God, help me!"
If I put my best front up, that is hypocrisy. If I put my best up front, that is poise. If I just do my best and hide behind Him for a Front. That is Biblical confidence. Our confidence is in Christ.
Just a thought. Thank you for reading.