It’s Not All About The Pastor

“It’s not all about you” are the often quoted opening words of Rick Warren’s best selling book The Purpose Driven Life. I need the reminder of these words when I reflect on my ministry and my responsibilities as a preacher and pastor.

Yes, being a pastor to the Lord’s people and the preacher/teacher of God’s Word to His people are serious and heavy responsibilities. There’s the sobering statement by the apostle James,Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1)

The other side of this coin is that every human being is ultimately responsible for their own relationship with the Lord and spiritual growth. It’s good for us pastors to remember this.

Why do we take on this extra burden of feeling as if we the pastors are ultimately responsible for the spiritual development of the people of our congregations? Could it be because it makes us feel important? Perhaps our parishioners have communicated to us that their spiritual health is primarily our responsibility. Or maybe we’ve successfully communicated this to the people and the expectation has boomeranged back on us. The result can be an unhealthy co-dependent pastor/people relationship.

The pastoral ministry has enough burdens without us adding the burden of believing that the spiritual development of the people of our flock falls primarily on us. These words are a gentle reminder to those of us who are pastors that every believer is responsible for his or her own prayer life, study of the Word, growing passion for Christ, and living out of a God-honoring life-style. The Good Shepherd has called us to be His assistant shepherds, but all we can do is lead His sheep to still waters and green pastures. We can’t make them drink or eat; they have to do that for themselves. Oh, what a relief that is! It’s not all about us!

“He [Jesus] also said, This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain—first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.‘” (Mark 4:26-28)

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