Summary: Sermon preached at a pastor’s & missionaries meeting.
Central Texas Mission Council Meeting
May 19, 2007
Read 2 Timothy 4:1-5,
What a charge! The words the aged Apostle Paul penned to Pastor Timothy have been inspiring men for hundreds of years. The force and power with which he gave that charge hasn’t been diminished in any way, and I say with complete confidence that short of our call to walk with the Lord Jesus Christ in a personal trust relationship there is no greater calling in the world than to preach the Word of God or pastor one of the Lord’s churches.
The call to pastor is a high calling. It is the call to speak truth where there are lies; the call to shine light in dark places; the call to stand in the trenches and fight when it seems all the forces of hell stand in our way. There are many good times: the professions of faith, the baptisms, the changed lives, the restored marriages and wounded hearts. And there are certainly plenty of bad times: tough times.
Many men of God rejoice in their calling and love their ministries. Unfortunately there are many who find it a daily struggle to stay in the ministry. The call of God compels them, but the battles of life have bruised them. For some, pastoring does not come naturally. Preaching is difficult at best. Many men have ministries that are less than desirable: working with unmovable people because of their little faith and little prayers and little thinking.
Pastoring is no light thing. The words of J.R. Alexander to our Defense of the Faith class hang over my desk.
“When God called you to preach and put a Bible in your hand you might have thought, “Boy this is going to be a romantic life. I’ll be honored as a preacher. I’ll get a good office, a staff working under me and I’ll make myself a good reputation. People will want me to preach their revivals and I’ll have a good time of it.” There’s a lot more to the call to the ministry than that. If that’s what you’ve got on your mind then you’d better get into something else.”
Why answer the call to preach? The call to pastor? Why bother with the work of God with all its pitfalls and heartaches? Because for all the difficulties it poses there is no greater work on earth. This morning I’d like to challenge you to consider two kinds of pastors and what a man needs in order to preach the Word…to make full proof of his ministry.
The Idealistic Pastor vs. The Realistic Pastor
You all know the idealistic pastor. Everything is perfect. Nothing goes wrong. Church is always great. Everyone gets what he wished for and everybody lives happily ever after! But the realistic pastor on the other hand deals with problems all his ministry. His ministry is marked by broken dreams, where folk never do get saved and some lives never do get changed.
The idealistic pastor has the perfect church of a larger size than ours with perfect music and dynamic worship. The deacons are all on the same page all the time, every committee runs like clockwork and his nickname is Pastor E.F. Hutton, because when he speaks everybody listens. But in the real world pastors deal with bad church members, mean men and hateful women. In the real world a pastor can preach his heart out and knock on every door in town and labor till the sun goes down, but his church doesn’t become the next Saddleback, or whatever you think a church ought to be.
The idealistic pastor has competent teachers for every class. They all come to training meetings. They can all quote the Romans Road and are versed in the Bible. But the realistic pastor is constantly dealing with babes in Christ, men and women who take positions because no one else will, and when they take them can’t do the job they ought to do because they’re too lazy to study and too unmotivated to care.
The idealistic pastor has a stained glass office in his suburban Baptist Cathedral with gardens and fountains and arches. The custodial staff keeps things spotless. The nursery staff keeps the kids happy and laughing and people flock from miles around to experience the latest, greatest thing going on. But the realistic pastor has a study in a hole in the back of the church he pastors in a run down part of town. His butt is sore from sitting in a $20 chair under a cold metal desk that somebody gave him from Aunt Maurine’s garage sale. He runs his own bulletins, vacuums his own carpet, might mow the grass himself and wishes somebody would volunteer to work with the babies this week so he won’t have to compete with the screams.