Friday, August 6, 2010

A caution to us pastors...

"Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds; for riches do not last forever, nor a crown for all generations..."
(Proverbs 27:23-24)

"Don't forget where you came from" is a saying usually reserved for those who've ascended to some position of height.  It's partly about remembering one's roots, and partly about the dangers of newfound power.  The writer of Proverbs knows this - but from a more practical standpoint.  A shepherd may rise tot he status of KING (a la David)... but there will come a time when all that fades.  So, the wisdom of the writer is this: "Don't forget your flocks!"  Pay attention to what you did before you became king.  Take care of your sheep & goats - because someday you'll need them again (see v.26-27 for the practical application).

I was first attracted to this because of the first verse, "Know well the condition of your flocks." It seemed like wise advice to all us pastors.  Make sure you stay in touch with your people.  Don't be so involved in the "administration" of leading a church, that you forget the people you're supposed to be shepherding.

But the context of the following verses caused me to reflect in a different way.  As a pastor, if I were to take this wisdom to heart, it might be telling me not to assume that I'll always live the life of a pastor.  In many ways, we pastors have a lot of privilege.  We're given many benefits as part of this position.  But we're also placed in close proximity to the Divine on a regular basis.  Granted, God is everywhere... and all have the same access to God... but there is a perceived "spiritual exaltation" for pastors. 

Maybe this section from Proverbs is a reminder to "give attention" to our hearts... to our spiritual lives.  Don't assume the position of "pastor" is enough to "live on" for life.  We are called to do the dirty work (wait... maybe "get our hands dirty" is a better expression) of our spiritual life (like everyone else has to!).  Because, let's face it... if all we have is the title of "Pastor," but little or no ongoing spiritual under-pinings, we're in serious trouble.  We can't skate by on past spiritual moments.  We have to maintain that relationship with God all the time.  "For riches do not last forever, nor a crown for all generations." 

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