A great frustration of pastors is when our people don’t call us to them – sometimes even don’t want us with them – when suffering, pain, grief, or even celebration comes. I know personally of too many events which I find out about two, three, or even more days after they’ve taken place! I don’t believe it’s anything malicious, or personal, and I don’t take it that way. It seems to me that we’ve lost so much understanding of what the office of Pastor truly is. In reality, we’ve lost the whole notion of who a pastor is for his people. Is a pastor an administrator, a motivator, a counselor, an equipper, a leader? Perhaps, but none of these truly fall within his office – his vocation – proper. These may be necessary roles that he must fill, but they aren’t the chief task he’s called to do. These aren’t the reasons that Christ has given the pastor to His people.
Here’s what Jesus says, to the seventy-two that He sends out to preach His message to the people. “The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects him who sent me.” That’s from Luke 10:16, and it says a lot. The pastor is the stand-in, the steward, of Jesus. Wherever the pastor is, carrying out his marching orders from our Lord Jesus Christ, we can squint our eyes a little bit and see Jesus there. Because He is. Jesus says so.
Because of this reality – the pastor is there in Christ’s stead – then we should think about all the events in our lives and ask ourselves, “Do I want Jesus here for this?” If we are sick, would we like Jesus to be there? If we’ve lost a loved one, do we desire Jesus to be there holding our hand? Do we face an uncertain future, as we’ve lost a job or a loved one has walked out on us, with or without Jesus? Insert any situation in life here – shall we go through it with our Lord and Savior there with us? I think the answer is “yes.” I don’t imagine any Christian is going to say “no” to his Savior being at his side through thick and thin – that just doesn’t make any sense.
So why don’t we want our pastor there? He’s there in the stead of Jesus. The pastor speaks Jesus’ words, He pronounces Jesus’ forgiveness and blessing. In short, where the pastor is, there is Jesus. My pastoral plea is that all Christians would seek to bring their pastor to their side, in good and bad, day in and day out, until the Lord calls them to Himself or He comes again. I think this is just how Jesus set things up, for the benefit of His dear family.