My mini-sabbatical ends today. Many of the things I had hoped to do never got started. But there ae several lessons I learned that I hope will help me use the gifts God has given me more efficiently.
First, the role of pastor has changed—or I have changed….or more likely both. My gifts are in teaching and preaching. It has taken me several years to recognize that I don’t have to be good at everything other pastors are good at. I have known pastors who were remarkable counselors, some who were visionary leaders, some who were marvelous administrators and so on. I don’ have to be what they are. I only have to be what God has gifted and created me to be.
Second, the longer I am in this community the broader my role of pastor becomes. I have the oppoturnity to speak with dozens of people who will likely never darken the door of our church. Some of them are small business owners whose businesses are open on Sunday’s. I could never list all the reasons people won’t come to a worship service. But my responbsibility towards the community members is the same as it is toward my church family: to point to Jesus. Today on Trevn Wax’s blog he posted a prayer from Ignatius of Antioch:
Please pray for me,
that I may have both spiritual and physical strength to perform my duties;
that I may not only speak the truth but become the truth;
that I may not only be called a Christian, but also live like a Christian.
Yet I do not want people to look to me as an example,
for at best I can only be a pale reflection of Christ Jesus;
let people look away from the reflection and turn to the reality.
Christianity is not a matter of persuading people of particular ideas,
but of inviting them to share in the greatness of Christ.
So pray that I may never fall into the trap of impressing people with clever speech,
but instead I may learn to speak with humility,
desiring only to impress people with Christ himself.
– Ignatius of Antioch, 35-108 A. D.