Summary: The responsibilities of a pastor
The Pastor's Hats!
I speak tonite about my favorite person in the world...myself! Go ahead, admit it, you are your own favorite person. You take care of yourself better than anyone else, and spend more time in your presence than anyone else's! Well, it's not polite to talk much about yourself, and I only do this because it is next in our verse by verse study.
I have learned in my years of being a pastor that everyone knows what the pastor should be doing except me. That is exactly what Paul was saying to this church in Corinth and from the way I see it, things haven't changed much after all of these years.
I hear things like, "Preacher you need to go see so and so." Or, "Preacher such and such is broken and you need to make sure that gets fixed." Or, "So and so is unhappy and you need to go find out what you did to them".
I have also learned that many people think their pastor doesn't do anything except preach on Sundays and he does something on Wednesdays for an hour or so. I can't tell you the number of times I've heard this sentiment over the years and I know it is often said in a humorous way but I have a sneaking suspicion that there are some folks who actually believe this myth. These people are absolutely amazed when they find out that the pastor works an average of 75 hours a week, never fully off the clock, and that his average lifespan is a good 10 years shorter than others who don't face the same spiritual stress.
While some think that preachers do nothing others feel like their preacher should do everything at the church. After all, they pay his salary. When I say everything I mean things like plumbing, landscape, cleaning, repair, child care, etc. Maybe this is why so many churches are having problems. Their pastor is not pastoring the church because he is too busy doing everything else in order to keep his job.
So what does the Bible say a Pastor should be doing? Let's look at "hats" of a pastor in our text:
1. A Servant of Christ v. 1
The word servant in our text means "under rower." An under rower was a galley slave who rowed a ship from the bottom tier of the ship. These were the "low life's" of the slave world. Their job was to move that ship forward for their captain.
The pastor is to be an under rower for the Kingdom of God. He is to move the church forward for the captain of the ship. Who is the captain? It is God. How does the Pastor know God's direction? By listening to God speak to Him through Scripture and prayer. That means that the Pastor's prayer time must be a priority. Statistics show that the average Pastor prays just 5 minutes a day. In some cases this is a statement about the Pastor, and in some it's a statement about his life and schedule.
There are 3 very important points I must make about the Pastor being a slave:
« First, who does the pastor serve? God.
« Secondly, who tells the pastor where to lead? God.
« Thirdly, does this make the Pastor any more important to God than anyone else? Absolutely not, but it also doesn't make the Pastor any less important than anyone else either!
2. A Steward v. 1-8
It is interesting that Paul says that a Pastor is to be an under rower, which was a very insignificant slave; and then he turns right around and says that the Pastor is to be a steward, which was a very influential slave. A steward was a slave who was given the responsibility of managing the master's house. Our text tells us that God has entrusted His Word to Pastors and that they need to be faithful in the management of that Word. This is not saying that God's people are not supposed to study His Word on their own. What it does mean is that the Pastor should focus his time on the study, preaching, and teaching of the Word of God.
Now as an under rower for Christ and one who is entrusted with the Word of God comes much criticism. People want to have things done their way and as long as that happens it is fine, but if that changes watch out. But, Paul says, "I don't care if you talk bad about me." As a servant and steward for Christ what matters most is what God thinks.
This also brings up the fact that as God's people if we would do what God is asking us to do and not worry so much about what others are not doing we would not have so many problems. See, if you are focused on the fact that someone else is doing their job wrong and you are spending your time critiquing them; then you probably aren't getting your job done. It goes back to the fact that most Christians are sitting in the bleachers yelling out to the coach and those playing in the game about how badly they are doing. What that person needs to do is zip it and get in the game and they would find out that the way they thought it was may not be reality.