I was a new convert, only saved a few weeks when I walked into his office. I didn’t want to be there, but my life was a mess and I needed counsel. I had come to the Cape to work for the summer, run from my life, get drunk and pursue my modeling career, but somehow, I ended up becoming born again instead.
“Can I sit on the floor?” I said.
“What’s wrong with the couch?” he said in an even tone.
So, I sat on the couch. I felt like he could look right through me. I couldn’t stand him. He suggested I move to the Cape and serve God. I hated Cape Cod, didn’t like most of the people either, and I had friends and family all over the world. Why would I do that? So, I took a detour via Florida and Europe. I called him from Spain. I wanted him to tell me what to do so I wouldn’t be responsible if it didn’t work out. He told me he already counseled me once, I would have to pray about it myself. Nine months after I left, I surprised everyone. “What are you doing in about an hour and a half?” I said to the friend who had brought me to church. “Can you pick me up from the airport?”
“Pray about it.” That’s my Pastor’s mantra. He wants me to have my own relationship with Christ, to learn to hear His voice.
My pastor called me aside at prayer one morning shortly after I started dating my future husband. “Rachael,” he said. “Virtue is in the hands of a woman.” With those words my pastor set the responsibility of purity squarely on my shoulders.
You won’t keep your purity by mere good intentions or good moral convictions, but by being a vigilant soldier, setting deliberate boundaries and guarding them. So, I decided to take the really high road, a different route than before I invited Jesus into my heart. My husband and mine’s first kiss was on our wedding day. And we still managed to figure things out- without the test drive. Really.
Early in my salvation, a visiting minister preached a message entitled, “Despise not God’s anointed.” In the Bible account, David has been chosen by God and anointed to be the future king of Israel, but the ruling king, Saul, is hunting him down to kill him. David had the chance to kill Saul, but instead crept up when Saul was unaware and cut the edge of his robe off. Even though David spared Saul’s life, his conscience bothered him. This is what David said:
So he said to his men, “Far be it from me because of the LORD that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD’S anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the LORD’S anointed.” 1 Samuel 24:6 NASB
I didn’t answer the altar call because I didn’t want my pastor to see me. The next sermon was on not responding to altar calls. I went to the altar.
I believe if I let God be God and keep my heart right, He will provide for and protect me and bring me to my destiny.
My pastor is not perfect; he’s just a man, as are all preachers. But he’s the man God provided to shepherd my soul. I believe, as we care for those God has set over us, praying for and treating them with respect and appreciation, He empowers them to care for us. So, I have chosen to honor the ordained authority God has been kind enough to place over me.
I’m not speaking of blind following. Pastor worshipers don’t do well in their walk with God, because sooner or later they wake up and realize the god they created has failed them, or offended them and they derail as their reference was on the man and not the God the man represents. Likewise, those who are like a horse who shies from his groomer when his bridle is reached for, refusing to be led, don’t fare well.
I am responsible to know the Bible and be governed by it. If a minister or anyone else deviates from the precepts of the Bible, it’s my job to stay the Gospel course and humbly pray for their redirection or recovery, realizing we are all fallible. Here’s the balance between blind following and being rebellious and unteachable:
Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ. 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NASB)
Gossip and slander are bloody weapons that harm the intended and erode the spirit of the attacker. Giving ear to it is as bad as speaking it.
So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! James 3:5 (NASB)
Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.1 Chronicles 16:22 NASB
The background for my words on my graphic is crime scene tape because some people murder their ministers and others with their mouths and in so doing they tear down God’s prophets, themselves and the Church. Some starve their pastors and families of support, but then expect them to be able to carry all. What if the time spent speaking negatively about pastors and their wives was used to pray for their needs and shortcomings? Instead of magnifying problems, become part of the solution.
There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18 (NASB)
The scripture below speaks of Aaron and Hur who supported God’s man, Moses their leader, in his weak and weary time. As a result, everyone was victorious.
As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle. Exodus 17:11-13 NLT
Life is too short and eternity is too close to be at odds with those we are called to love.
I believe, when I extend grace to others, it’s there, waiting for me down the road when I need it. If I am gracious to others, God will be gracious to me.
The warm summer sand and the salty air brought no solace as a friend and I talked about recent events in our lives and those around us. Life as we knew it was imploding and exploding all at once; spiritual debris and the resulting carnage surrounded us. I couldn’t see or hear clearly from all the noise and smoke. My heart ached.
“God.” I said in anguish. “I want no part in this.” I saw myself walking backwards on the beach, away from the direction we were going, as if I was being pulled and everything began to fade. “Jesus, I’m coming to you.” I said. “I hide myself in You. Cover me.” And Jesus was there. His presence fell. It was as if He held me and He began to speak to me and show me things. I didn’t know at the time I was breaking up the soil of my heart, planting seed, or that one day in October I would be called into a field, and my soul would catch on fire in the midst of a storm as I placed myself on the altar again.
Do you know what I’ve found in 29 years of following Jesus? Even when holding to high standards is not popular, or I face persecution, or things don’t go as I wish in spite of standing for what’s right; it’s worth it. A clean conscience and no regrets is priceless.
When God was handing out charisma, my pastor wasn’t there. But he’s steady. His heart is for God and souls; he proclaims the uncompromising message of the Gospel and upholds its standards. My pastor’s eyes are fixed. His goal is to get as many in the boat as possible and safely to the desired haven-Heaven.
Dessert is nice, but it’s not a diet to sustain a healthy life. I expected whipped cream with a cherry on top, but God gave me a Pastor who serves up meat and potatoes. Amen.
© 2016 Rachael M Colby Tattoo It On Your Heart
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