Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Truth #9

Number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9. . . .

9 - Sin desires to be lord - love serves the neighbor as though he were the Lord.

Quite often Pastors will make a big deal over the fact that as Pastors we stand and we speak in the stead of Christ - and rightfully so. We live in a land of protestants who deny the power and efficacy of the Word so it is vital for us to emphasize that we speak "in the stead and by the command of [our] Lord Jesus Christ."

However, what we must equally remember is that we are not to be lords - for that is the way it is among the gentiles (and no, Jesus was not giving permission for the Gentiles to lord it over one another). My duty is not to make people do what I want them to do. My duty is not to make my congregation look and act the way I want it to be. Fundamentally I am not in any, way, shape or form try to be master over the lives of the people in the Congregation.

Rather, I am to serve them.. And I have a very specific service - I serve them by preaching the Word and Administering the Sacraments. Now, in such capacity, there are times when I am to tell them that they are doing wrong (I do preach and speak the Law) - but outside of that I may not bind them (I may give advice, which they are free to ignore).

This is a hard attitude to maintain today, especially in the democracy-gone-wild church we have today. The same holds true for the way the people are to view their pastor - the congregation is there to serve and support the pastor so he may go about his task. However, the assumption is sometimes falsely made that if a pastor serves the people, then the people must be the lord of the Pastor (after all, they pay his salary, they can do what they want!). "Let us sumbit to one another out of reverence for Christ." That is forgotten all too often. And Pastors often get beat over the head for this.

So, how ought Pastors respond? I will hear Pastors lament the lack of respect for the Office. Allow me to ask the question. Is there a person who lacks respect for you and your office who has proper respect for other people? The problem rarely is a lack of respect for the "office" - it's a lack of respect. Period. It's not that they desire to be Lord over YOU - it's that they desire to be LORD, period.

This shows the way in which we are to respond. We do not become abusers ourselves, but rather we uphold the dignity of our Office by proper service, and we teach on love and respect - not to ourselves, but to the neighbor in general. Otherwise we just seem self serving - but if we demonstrate that there is a lack of love and respect towards "others" - repentance will generate an increase in love and respect towards the Pastor as well. And also, when you beat the protestant out of the. . . I mean instruct your people on what is meant by the idea of the "means of Grace" and foster an appreciation for these means, respect for the man whose duty it is to deliver these means will increase as well.

This is slow, and one will get kicked in the teeth for it. But one will teach - and that is part of the service we give.

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