Monday, March 4, 2013

Man Of God

"Come meet this man of God."  These were the words of the search committee announcing the selection of a new Pastor of Worship.  Why did they trouble me?

The same words had been used to describe me before.  Did they trouble me then?  I think perhaps so.  I know me.  To call me a man of God more than anyone else has never seemed appropriate.  Was I jealous?  Perhaps, I don't have a ministry position right now, so that was a legitimate probability.  But it didn't seem the only or even the primary reason.

As I thought about it, it seemed like it was the selectivity of the statement.  "Come see this man of God.

Him.  Me.  Why are we "men of God?"  What is so special about me?  About him?  I don't like the way we elevate people in ministry.  I don't like it when its done to others. I don't like it when its done to me.  Don't get me wrong, it feels good.  It makes me feel valued and loved and... God help me... important.  But as I said, I know me.  I know they're feeding a fire that doesn't need any fuel.  Even the most insecure people don't need to have their pride coddled.  Speaking as one, many of us have enough fantasies, dreams and secret hopes for our own importance that we would never let see the light of day.  I do.  God forgive me, I do.

I need encouragement.  I need reassurance.  I need hope and love.  But the paradoxical curse of ministry is that the role we serve feeds our greatest temptation - our pride.  I am a man of God no more than any other follower of Christ. I recognize that many people see pastors and church leaders as representatives of God.  But I am not convinced that is a good thing.  We are all representatives of God to each other.

The prayers of a minister are no more effective than those of your brother or sister in Christ.  Neither should be the words of encouragement, the hand of consolation, the comforting presence.  There is no ranking by position in the Kingdom of God.  Granted, there are differences of gifts:  wisdom, prophecy, mercy, eloquence, discernment.  But there should be no more reverence for the human pastor than for the human janitor or dishwasher.  "The last shall be first," and all that.

That said, I understand words from the pastor, minister or other authoritative person will, in fact, be more comforting to some people because they are uttered from a position of authority.  I will not begrudge anyone that.  But as people in leadership, we should neither invite nor welcome such sentiment.  And I would go so far as to say that we should subversively counter those ideas by our counsel, our sermons and our transparent lives before others.  We should be constantly reminding people that we are no more holy, no less sinful, no more important than anyone else who loves and follows Jesus.

3 comments:

Patrick Russell Ray said...

Yes.

Tiggeriffic said...

As I read your blog I'm trying to understand what you are meaning and where you are going with this "Man Of God"..
I think Paul was a Man Of God and a good example to follow.. He would be a good role model to focus on to be someone to follow. The important thing is to follow God and read his word and have a relationship with God..
How would you describe someone who is spiritually mature? Leomard Wedel says; "A mature person does not take himself too seriously....keeps himself alert in mind ...does not always view with alarm every adverse situation that arises...Is too big to be little...never feels too great to do little things, and is never too proud to do humbole things ...never accepts either success or failure in themselves as permanent...is one who is able to control his or her impulses..is not afraid to make mistakes..has faith in themselves which becomes stronger as it is fortified by their faith in God." So measured by that standard, how well are you doing? Are you able to evaluate your progress, without getting discouraged or feeling condemned? Can you look at how far you still have to go, yet be able to appreciate and celebrate how far you have already come? The Bible says we are changed "from one degree of glory to another". "Notice, spiritual maturity takes place by degrees. In small steps, not giant leaps. You must learn to live by God's Word, not by how you feel, for His Word states that as long as you believe, God is working in you:"The Word of God ...is effectually at work in you who believe (exercising its superhuman power in those who adhere to and trust in and rely on it) (1Th 2;13) There is a direct connection between your daily intake of God's WOrd and your maturity level.. And the good new is, God hasn't left us to do it on our own. "We..are being transformed...from glory to glory...by the Spirit" (2Co 3:18. That is what my devotion said today. I thought I would share it with you..
Get out of the boat and do what God intended you to do.. Preach the good Word and play that beautiful guitar and play worship music and raise up people out of their seats to praise God.. Lift your Holy hands...Have a great and tiggeriffic day~! ta ta for now from Iowa....Anne

Scott Dossett said...

Thanks Anne. Again, remember that these are my personal thoughts. I am putting them on the internet, so it's perfectly fine to read them. But take them for what they are. They are my honest thoughts when I am raw and hurting and anxious. They do not always represent the conclusions I finally come to. In fact, most of our conclusions are only conclusions until we discover some other aspect of the question. Think of the things I write here as something like David's psalms. Here you read the pain, in other places or discussions, you will read or hear the blessing!

Right now we are really struggling as a family here in Kentucky. You could say this is one of our "Job" moments. This is my way of working through those things.

Never fear, I haven't lost my faith. I haven't ditched my calling. I'm not even angry at God (okay, once or twice I have been - I am human after all). Thanks for the encouragement though! much love.