TO CHEW ON: "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it, not as the word of men but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe." 1 Thessalonians 2:13
Do we consider the message our pastor preaches each Sunday the actual "word of God" to us? Do we welcome it as Paul's readers did? Or do we hear it with a critical ear and the intention to obey only the comfortable bits?
It might be a good idea to keep Paul's words in mind next Sunday as we listen to our pastor preach.
- We can ask ourselves is there something we need to hear?
- If pastor's sermon sounds like a repeat of other messages he's preached, we can examine our lives for disobedience. Maybe the reason God is impressing the same message on our pastor's heart week after week is because we aren't obeying.
- If we find it hard to concentrate, taking notes may help. We could write down his main points, statements that grab our attention, and Scriptures that he refers to so we can reread them later.
- We can listen with the goal of taking something practical home with us. We could look for a truth or principle to apply to everyday life or one change we could make.
- And one more thing: why don't we pray for our pastor throughout the week that he will hear from God for us, and have the freedom and liberty to speak what God impresses on him to preach. Let's not take lightly God's choice and anointing of our pastor as a means of building us up (His body the church).
PRAYER: Dear God, I thank You for my pastor. Please help him to hear from You this week, and to preach with confidence and conviction next Sunday. Amen.
MORE: Understanding your pastor's challenges
For us in the pews, it's easy to think a pastor's job is a piece of cake. After all, doesn't he just have to get his sermon ready each week and preach on Sunday? What can be so hard about that?
However, the reality is quite different. Kevin DeYoung, an author, blogger and pastor writes of the challenges of being a pastor:
"Ask any pastor who really takes his work seriously and he will tell you of the pressures he feels in ministry—people in crisis, people leaving, people coming, people falling through the cracks, people disappointed by the pastor, people disappointing to the pastor. In the midst of this work the pastor is trying to find time for study, prayer, preparation, and family. He’s trying to improve himself, train up new leaders, meet the budget, get to know a few missionaries, champion important program, manage staff, take care of administrative details, provide for deep, accessible worship and preaching, be responsive to new ideas, listen to new concerns, be ready to help when people are in trouble."Read all of "Pastoral Pressure and Apostolic Anxiety."
May this insight into pastoral life add to our incentive to pray for our church's pastors and leaders.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.