Pastor, before you Quit...
- Monday, July 02, 2007
The only question for a church member or a minister is the same prayer Saul voiced from the dust outside Damascus long ago, "What wilt thou have me do?" (Acts 22:10)
3) It's all about obedience, pastor. And that's the most important word of all.
Jesus had something critical to say for His followers who were feeling unappreciated and considering quitting. "When a servant comes in from the field," He said, "the master does not say to him, 'Now, you poor thing. You've worked so hard. Go and get yourself something to eat and then you can take care of me.' No, the master says to the servant, 'Get cleaned up, put on some proper clothes, and prepare my evening meal. Then you can take care of yourself.' In fact, the master doesn't even thank the slave."
Jesus looked at His disciples and made the application: "That's how it will be with you. When you have done your job, say to yourself, 'I am only an unworthy servant; I have simply done my duty.'" (My paraphrase of Luke 17:7-10)
Now, it's important to point out that our Lord did not say this is how the Heavenly Father feels about us and our service, and it's not how He feels. It's how we should feel toward ourselves. To see what the Father thinks of our faithful service, check out Luke 19:17.
Basic Christian discipleship is all about obeying the Lord who assigned you to this position. Once you understand that, you can set about helping the congregation to understand it, too.
A cartoon shows the pastor addressing a committee of disgruntled church leaders who have surrounded his desk. He says, "I'm sorry the church is unhappy with me. But the Lord did not send me to make the church happy. He sent me to make it healthy and Him happy." Big distinction.
Pastor, in our system of church government, any church can fire you whenever they choose. But the question of when to take the initiative and resign and walk away from the church is not yours, but the Lord who called you into this work and who presumably assigned you to that church. You're there until He says otherwise.
As I understand the call of God, you signed on for the duration.
Dr. Joe McKeever is a Preacher, Cartoonist, and the Director of Missions for the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans. Visit him at joemckeever.com/mt.
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