I walked in on an interesting conversation today. It was one of those conversations that you don’t put your two cents into because you don’t want to waste your energy in a fight that doesn’t matter. I just choose to use it for a blog. 🙂
The sentence in this conversation that really stuck out to me was this, “What is a pastors job then?” Now of course this question is going to stick out to me simple because I am a pastor. I am going to have an opinion, a dog in this fight, but I’m I right? Are you right? Before we decided to speak let us first look to the scripture. One of the places that we see this spoken clearly is 2 Timothy where Paul tells a young pastor named Timothy this:
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
(2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)
The job of a preacher, if based on this text, is to “preach the word” . The “word” here being scripture in general and the gospel in particular. This means that the preachers one and only job is to preach the scripture. This may sound like a simple task but one that is to often clouded by ones opinions, ideas and fears. We see here that Paul is not going to give Timothy an easy way to go about this preaching of the word.
Before he even says “preach the word” he states that “I charge you”. This is a command or a strong urging toward something. He then states that God will “judge” this when he returns. Within this charge of preaching the word is an unpacking of what this looks like. Paul wants Timothy to understand what preaching the word is going to mean. Its going to require him to be constantly ready, to be ready to take a few metaphorical punches and to give a few himself in order that that gospel may take hold in peoples lives. He is going to have to preach the word strongly, because Paul points out that when given the option between soft and fluffy and true and hard people will always pick soft and fluffy. He lastly give Timothy a list of things that would scare anyone that were looking through the job description. He says that he must be sober minded, be ready to endure suffering and to speak about Jesus always. All these things point toward the fulfilling of his ministry.
You may have your own list of what a pastor should do. Some people want their pastor to come visit them. Others what him to be always available and always on call. Still others expect him to grow the church. All these things are good extras in ones personality. A close look at scripture however shows that a pastors job is simple one thing: Preach The Word. When this is done in an effective manner lives are changed.
So next time the questions comes up of what a pastors job is instead of throwing your hat into the ring and naming off a detailed list of all the things your pastor should do how about you pray that God gives him the energy, courage and character to do what he was called to do: preach.