The following post is a raw and passionate reminder to myself of the nature of my calling as a pastor. I wrote these thoughts down some time ago, but return to them on occasion to help me remain focused on most critical aspects of pastoral ministry. In particular, I wrote them down in response to the endless flow of competing voices trying to direct pastors to take up cause after cause. Perhaps what I ended up writing to myself will help you or a pastor you know as well.
That job is to preach the Word of God, to pray down heaven, and to care for the flock of God that is among you and that you are among. To preach. To pray. And to care for the flock. That is your job.
Your job is not to fix this world. It is not to correct every injustice. It is not to address every problem that exists on any given day in the world in which you live.
Your job is not to speak to every issue that someone else believes is important. It is not to follow the trends of your culture and make sure you are always speaking a word into that culture that the people of it would find to be relevant.
Though your job may require you at times to speak boldly to specific issues, like when those issues are addressed in the Text or when those issues are clearly affecting the people in your church; your job is not to do so at all times, nor in all gatherings, nor with every person to whom you speak. The only thing you must speak of at all times, in all gatherings, and with every person is Jesus and His glorious Gospel.
Your job is to preach the Word; plain, simple, and straight.
Furthermore, your job is not to fix anything. You are not the Sovereign One. You are not the Savior of the world. You are not the Wonderful Counselor. You are not the Prince of Peace.
Bottom line: You are not Jesus, nor are you called to be Jesus for anyone. Your job is not to be for every person what every person wants or needs. Your job is not to do what every person expects. You don’t have all the answers. In fact, there are times when you won’t have any answers. Why? Again, because you are not Jesus. Don’t forget it.
And truly, of all the things you want to see happen in your own heart, and your family, and your church, you have not the slightest power to actually accomplish a single one of them. You can’t change a single heart. You can’t cause a single soul to stand in awe of the God who created him and sought his redemption in Christ. You can’t fix marriages. You can’t break the bonds of addiction. You can’t wake up the complacent. You can’t heal the sick. And you surely can’t raise the dead. Jesus can, but you are not him.
What you can do is pray, and pray hard, and pray often, and pray with desperation and urgency, not only for yourself, but for others. You can pray to Jesus and to your heavenly Father through Jesus, but sometimes, that’s about all you can do.
See, your job is not to fix things. Your job is to pray; to ask God over and over again to pour out His grace and power in your life, in your family, and in your church – for the glory of His name and the good of His people.
Your job is to pray; hard, bold, and often.
What’s more, your job is not to lead every church, nor to shepherd every Christian, nor to make sure that every pastor is doing his job. It is not to ensure that every church is guarded from every errant word. Your job is to shepherd the flock of God that is among you and your fellow pastors; the flock of God of which you yourself are a member.
You are a pastor, which means you are one pastor. You are not every pastor, nor are you called to be.
Your job is not to address the issues at hand in someone else’s church. Your job is to address the issues at hand in your church. It is not to guard every church, but one single local church. Not to feed every Christian, but a group of clearly identified Christians that you know and are seeking to know better. And if you feed others but have not fed your own flock, you have failed as a pastor.
Your job is not to develop a national platform. It is not to become well known and widely respected. Your job is not to care for cyber-friends and followers; nor to really care too much about having them. Your job is not to care about views, and likes, and favorites, and shares. Your job is neither to be known nor promoted. Your job is to promote the glory of the One who saved you as you seek to know the flock in which he has placed you. And whether that leads to widespread respect or relative obscurity; so be it.
Your job is to shepherd the flock of God that is among you, the same flock that you are among.
Self, you are a pastor and you have a job: To preach the Word, to pray down heaven, and to care for the flock. That’s your job. It is not an easy job, but it is a good job, and the one that God gave you to do. So do it, and do it well.