(This post was originally posted April 12, 2016 as Four Signs Your Pastor is Acting More Like Jesus.)
When we think of Jesus, we tend to focus on His love and forgiveness. We think of His humility. We think of Him taking the form of a servant and washing His disciples’ feet. We think of His ultimate sacrifice, dying on the cross.
Yeah, forgive me for not having that same focus here. When you think of your pastor acting more like Jesus, do you think of:
#1 – My pastor burst out in a fit of rage.
Seriously, what would you think if your pastor made a whip and used it to “handle” something that he/she did not deem appropriate in church? Do you remember when Jesus went to the temple?
13 It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 He found in the temple those who were selling cattle, sheep, and doves, as well as those involved in exchanging currency sitting there. 15 He made a whip from ropes and chased them all out of the temple, including the cattle and the sheep. He scattered the coins and overturned the tables of those who exchanged currency. 16 He said to the dove sellers, “Get these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a place of business.” (John 2)
#2 – My pastor is telling stories I do not understand.
As a pastor, we often hear again and again the importance of clearly communicating so that people understand. We are told that Jesus used stories, parables, for people to understand. However, here Jesus tells us that those who are to understand, understand, and those who are not to understand, do not.
10 Jesus’ disciples came and said to him, “Why do you use parables when you speak to the crowds?”11 Jesus replied, “Because they haven’t received the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but you have. 12 For those who have will receive more and they will have more than enough. But as for those who don’t have, even the little they have will be taken away from them. 13 This is why I speak to the crowds in parables: although they see, they don’t really see; and although they hear, they don’t really hear or understand. (Matthew 13)
#3 – My pastor stopped answering my questions.
We want our pastor to always be there for us. We sort of expect our pastor to answer or at least guide us to an answer for questions we have. And yet, Jesus did not visit everyone. Jesus did not heal everyone. Jesus did not answer every question.
23 When Jesus entered the temple, the chief priests and elders of the people came to him as he was teaching. They asked, “What kind of authority do you have for doing these things? Who gave you this authority?”24 Jesus replied, “I have a question for you. If you tell me the answer, I’ll tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things. 25 Where did John get his authority to baptize? Did he get it from heaven or from humans?”They argued among themselves, “If we say ‘from heaven,’ he’ll say to us, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 26 But we can’t say ‘from humans’ because we’re afraid of the crowd, since everyone thinks John was a prophet.” 27 Then they replied, “We don’t know.”Jesus also said to them, “Neither will I tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things. (Matthew 21)
#4 – My pastor called me a name.
Seriously, how would you feel if you pastor called you any of the following?
29 “How terrible it will be for you legal experts and Pharisees! Hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 You say, ‘If we had lived in our ancestors’ days, we wouldn’t have joined them in killing the prophets.’ 31 You testify against yourselves that you are children of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, complete what your ancestors did. 33 You snakes! You children of snakes! How will you be able to escape the judgment of hell? (Matthew 23)
23 But he turned to Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan. You are a stone that could make me stumble, for you are not thinking God’s thoughts but human thoughts.” (Matthew 16)
“You are faithless and crooked!”
37 The next day, when Jesus, Peter, John, and James had come down from the mountain, a large crowd met Jesus. 38 A man from the crowd shouted, “Teacher, I beg you to take a look at my son, my only child. 39 Look, a spirit seizes him and, without any warning, he screams. It shakes him and causes him to foam at the mouth. It tortures him and rarely leaves him alone. 40 I begged your disciples to throw it out, but they couldn’t.”41 Jesus answered, “You faithless and crooked generation, how long will I be with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.” 42 While he was coming, the demon threw him down and shook him violently. Jesus spoke harshly to the unclean spirit, healed the child, and gave him back to his father. 43 Everyone was overwhelmed by God’s greatness. (Luke 9)
Hopefully you know the above is offered a bit “tongue-in-cheek.” Sorry, this is not meant to be permission giving for any pastors out there to do or say any of the above. However, for me, the important reminder here though is to remember that the above is love too.
How can the above be loving?
The image I get when I think of Jesus loving this way is one of a parent correcting or warning his/her child. What would you be willing to do or say to make sure a child does not step out into traffic? Exactly.
Honestly, the above convicts me too. Maybe we do not take the message that Jesus came to share seriously enough. Maybe if we carried His same burden and passion, we might get closer to the above at times, knowing that it is indeed a matter of life and death. Maybe.
(All scripture cited above from Common English Bible Copyright © 2011)