“Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death…through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.” (2 Corinthians 11:23, 27b-28)
I wanted to print the entire passage (2 Corinthians 11:23-29), but I didn’t want to lose you. It’s just so appropriate as I want to talk about the life of a Pastor. (Believe me when I say: It’s not to gain anyone’s sympathy. I left the pulpit going on five years ago. I am writing for my brothers.)
“Don’t you just golf all week?” And I guess that’s probably the best statement to sum up some people’s ideas of a Pastor’s life. Truth be told, there was a time where even I was dumb enough to think it was easier than a “real job.” (Now do you believe I’m not looking for sympathy?) I think we’re all pretty naive when it comes to real life and other people’s situations. What’s the saying, “Walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes”?
I never thought about it like this before. But the above verses in Second Corinthians (with its entire context) are really about a Pastor’s life. Go read it again. (For Paul, it was literally speaking.) My professor in college told us, “Don’t go in the ministry unless you’re ready to die.” And then as a Childrens and Youth Pastor I began to learn. I remember my Senior Pastor telling me, “Mike, there is one person in this church that is more lonely than you.” (Fill in the blank.)
And then you add on top of that the Devil. And though we do not battle against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12a), Satan uses flesh and blood ~ people ~ to hurt Pastors the most ~ even “Christian” people.
You think you know spiritual warfare? You don’t know spiritual warfare. No you don’t. Do you remember D-day? Do you remember the beaches at Normandy? (Click on the picture above and spend some time there.) That’s spiritual warfare (climbing those cliffs, German guns blazing, no hope of surviving). That’s the life of a Pastor (and death).
And some of you are looking at him with disdain. (I’m using “you” just to make the point. I hope it’s not you.) And some of you are treating the Pastor like dirt. (Maybe not outwardly, but inwardly some of you are.) And some of you ~ did you know the Devil’s using you to try to destroy the Pastor? I rebuke you in the name of Jesus. Repent.
I tweeted the other day for men to get their you know what’s over to the local church body and support the Pastor who’s on the front lines dying for Christ’s cause (and in some places all by himself). Don’t you dare let him stand there alone. Don’t you dare.
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