Summary: Not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. – 1 Peter 5:3
Not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. – 1 Peter 5:3
In the minds of some modern Christians the idea of the pastor being someone who walks on a level of godliness above others is really not believed. Many believers think now that they fail just as much as the rest of us so why admire them or revere them as leaders. Though Christian leaders do fail and are men like the rest of us, the calling of being a leader in the body of Christ is a very solemn and godly call. There are higher moral and godly requirements for such a leader and God does judge them more strictly (James 3:1). Evangelicals in our day are throwing out the baby with the bathwater, meaning they are discarding anything that appears religious including any godly traditions of the Church that was been passed on. Since the early days of Christianity pastors and leaders wore different type of clothing, especially during the Church service. This was to signify their high calling as one to represent Christ and his teachings to the people. Whether its Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, Lutheran, Moravian, Alliance, or any godly movement there was always a sense of the holy in what was done in the Church meetings. It is purely a new idea in the modern evangelical and charismatic realm of pastors wearing jeans and the stripping away of any religious tradition even if its found clearly in Scriptures. Another area of loss has been the lowering requirements for Pastors and Deacons in the Church, not caring about multiple marriages, divorces and other sins.
Another stumbling block in peoples minds is that if one wears a vestment that they are seeking glory to themselves. Such thinking also minimizes or completely nullifies the need for submission to authority in the Church and goes hand in hand with the lack of reverence for the holy things of God. For one to wear vestments, be a leader of a Church, does not mean they are lording over or seeking preeminence. Clement of Rome said, “For Christ is of those who are humble-minded, and not of those who exalt themselves over His flock. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Sceptre of the majesty of God, did not come in the pomp of pride or arrogance, although He might have done so, but in a lowly condition.” Our Lord came as God over all with all authority yet did not force anyone to worship him. He was humble in his position of authority, being the Lord of heaven and earth! So in the same way leaders in the Church are to be humble in their calling to serve the Church under the Chief Shepherd, Jesus Christ. They are slaves to the people. The greatest leader with the highest responsibility is to be in his heart the lowest slave, serving others day and night. What an example Jesus was spending many sleepless nights in prayer for his disciples and lost souls. Great leaders today do similar, seeking the Lord with inner anguish for his people, his Church. Loving people and carrying a great burden that no one sees. It is easy to judge such ones who seem to be in such a high position but in reality it is a great place of death and servanthood. May God give back to modern believers the sense of the holiness of those called as shepherds in God’s body.