Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”
He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Isaiah 6:8-10
Believe me when I tell you there are parts of my work as an attorney which I do not like. Likewise, there are parts of my work as a church mediator which are hard and not very rewarding. Likewise, there are parts of my various assignments as a church leader which I would definitely rather not do…things I definitely do not feel “gifted” to do, but which my leadership requires nonetheless.
Isaiah’s calling was almost certainly not to do something he enjoyed doing. It was a calling to do a very hard thing…for over forty years…with practically no visible return whatsoever.
So, I hope my pastor friends will understand when I tend to look with some skepticism at their desire to just do the part of pastoring which they enjoy doing. Some would like to just focus on the preaching and teaching without having to bother with the “pastoral care” parts. Others would like to focus on the administrative aspects without having to do so much preaching and teaching. Still others could be content just doing hospital visits all day long and never having to attend another insufferable committee meeting.
Shepherding God’s people includes all of those things. You don’t have to be good at all of them…but you do have to do all of them. If you don’t feel called to visit sick people and to counsel grieving people…you probably are not called …
Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me. Job 38:2-3
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness… II Corinthians 3:18
Driving to work recently, I pulled up behind a truck literally covered in bumper stickers. I mean, there had to be 50 of them all over the truck. Many of them were Christian. Others were political. Some were rather personal. But the collective “message” was clear: this truck owner was screaming, “Look at me! Look at me!” This truck was like the vehicular version of a peacock, with its feathers spread wide, and its pride featured front and center. And I thought, there is something not quite right with that picture.
Do you know any professing Christians who seem to know a lot about God and the Bible and Jesus and who talk a lot about all that they know, but who just don’t seem to ring “true” for some reason? They wax eloquently all day long about this doctrine or that doctrine, or they can impress you with their stories of “conquest” from the mission field, or they can show you the sacrifices they have made on their church’s behalf. But when it comes right down to it, something about their attitude, something about the way they carry themselves just doesn’t add up. They simply do not exhibit the humility which naturally comes from being in the presence of God. And before you get too wrapped up accusing that person, let me ask you this: is it possible that person has ever been you? You see, having that “Jesus is the Answer” bumper sticker on the back of …