Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Calling of the Pastor

In studying the pastor, a good place to begin is the calling of the pastor. I believe we see this calling as the first qualification to be a pastor as found in 1 Timothy 3:1:
This is a true saying, If a mandesire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.
I believe that "desire" spoken of is from God. It is that desire, burden, holy urge, or calling that the potential pastor first receives from the Lord.
I believe that every born again believer has a Biblical calling to be a "minister" as spoken of in 1 Peter 4:10:
As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
I believe Paul put it this way in 1 Thessalonians 2:4:
But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak...
Each believer is to be baptized, join with a local church, learn the Word of God and share it with some one else (Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 2:41). This "calling" is for every believer.
The calling of the pastor is perhaps more Biblically expressed by the term "work of the ministry" as found in Ephesians 4:11-12:
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifiying of the body of Christ:
In 2 Timothy 4:5 we read of the "work of the evangelist." This calling is a unique call God places upon a man and provides the gifts to in order to fulfill this ministry.
We read how Jesus in Mark 3:13 "calls whom He would." Paul is described by God in Acts 9:15 as "a chosen vessel unto me."
God calls the individual. God does not 'mass produce preachers.' God will burden the heart of the man for the work of the ministry or the work of an evangelist. That burden will impress upon the man the absolute necessity of the work of the ministry. This is why Isaiah referred to his messages as "burdens" (see Is. 13:1; 17:1; etc). Paul would say in 1 Corinthians 9:16 "...for necessity is laid upon me; yeah, woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel!"
But God does not just place this calling upon anyone. God places this call upon those who already have a walk and fellowship with Him and who aer busy already serving and being faithful in whatever capacity has been laid before them. We see this in that:
1. Barnabus and Saul were busy ministering in their local church when they were set apart for the work (Acts 13:2)
2. Moses tended the flock before he was called (Ex. 3:1-2)
3. Gideon Threshed wheat (Jud. 6:1)
4. Elisha was plowing the field (1 Kings 19:19)
5. Peter was fishing, Matthew collecting taxes.....
Point is, each was faithful and hard working at what was set before them before God placed this calling upon them. God doesn't use the lazy, but looks for the faithful, even in the little things (Prov. 20:6; Luke 16:10).
As with Jeremiah, this calling will burn within the man and is unquenchable (Jer. 20:9).
In the Bible, there is no such thing as two 'classes' within the local church. There is not 'clergy and laity,' but the calling to preach is truly a high calling (Phil. 3:14). The calling is worthy of honour (1 Tim. 5:17), but woe to the pastor who thinks he is above any other in the church. A pastor is to lead, but by the example of Christ-a servant leader.
May every man who is given this calling to the work of the ministry, surrender to it and be found profitable in the ministry (2 Tim. 4:11). Truly, the harvest is great, but the labourers are few (Matt. 9:37).

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