I minimize no exposed errors or scandals that have and will come to light from all denominations but the response of the mature believer must be different.
The Christian and secular blogeshphere and media is still buzzing about the St Louis minister who wrote a very telling comment on their Applebee’s receipt. For those of you who aren’t aware of the recent viral phenomena you can check out Snarky Faith and Everyday Faith blogs which tackled the issue last week. The attention garnered from the St Louis minister, TLC’s reality show The Sisterhood and Russ Parr’s upcoming movie The Undershepherd produced a very sober reminder to me about the importance of praying for our pastors. Ever since the Lord truly convicted me about the depravity of man and realization that all members in the body of Christ are just vessels I have been compelled to pray for my pastors, our first family and all people brave enough to pay the cost and accept the call of shepherding while they are still being molded by the potter (Jeremiah 18). I minimize no exposed errors or scandals that have and will come to light from all denominations but the response of the mature believer must be different. Different than scorn, gossip, hate and condemnation. Believers must allow God to increase their faith so they can include their leaders in their personal and corporate prayer agendas. A spiritually reciprocal relationship must develop because of the following reasons:
- Because Jesus set the example
John 17 is a revelatory chapter on Jesus’ prayer life. In the chapter his prayer focus is first himself, then his 12 disciples and finally all believers that are to come. Before his arrest, Jesus went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Though he willingly gave his life for us he knew his eventual fate and asked his invited disciples Peter, James and John to intercede about his eventual destiny and theirs: Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” (Matt 26:38,NKJV). After 3 years of ministry together, Jesus expected a fervent level of spiritual maturity from the 3.
- Because it reflects the love we have for ourselves
In my previous post, 5 ways to know that you maybe in works, I state that condemnation of others even when there is error is a very telling sign of works. I’ll expand that thought to say it will also reflect how much we love ourselves. There is a correlation between healthy self love and the love of others. If we strongly judge and condemn others, including pastors, then we don’t love ourselves as we should. Mark 12 establishes that the second law that encapsulates the entire 10 commandments is to “love your others as we love ourselves”.
- Because there is a cost to saying yes
There is a cost to following Jesus (Luke 14:25-33). The cost comes in the form of lost relationships, unpopularity, giving up our own agendas, surrendering our will, illness, attacks from the enemy, persecution and more. Jesus said we are blessed for it: “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me(Matt 5:11, NIV 1984)”. The Apostle Paul thought nothing of the cost and gave his life to Jesus:
“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ”(Phil 3:8, NKJV). And God gave Paul as he does with with all believers, a triumphant deliverance and payment for the cost..himself (2 Cor 1: 8-10). The enemy tries very hard to stop all believers especially pastors from doing the will of God.
- Because the Bible says so
Psalm 105:15 and 1 Chronicles 16:22 establishes that we are to: ” Do not touch My anointed ones,And do My prophets no harm” (NKJV). In Acts 23 Paul is brought before the Sanhedrin. The high priest Ananias orders bystanders to slap Paul and Paul responds by calling Ananias a white washed wall. The bystanders then tell Paul that he essentially just cursed out a priest and Paul responds: “Paul replied, Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people'”.
My Prayer for Believers
- That we would understand the Depravity of Man
- That we would go after our necessary healing (Check out this great Christian counseling book that includes healing discussion from things experienced at Church)
- That we would love others since Jesus said that’s how the world will know we are Christians
My Prayer for Pastors
- That you would complete your preparation of character and integrity, Jesus prepared 30 years for 3 years of ministry
- That God would give you accountability partners, counselors and people that will reconcile your humanity with your calling and see you for who you are, neither a celebrity nor devil and that you would receive it.