the portrait of being a pastor
Let us read the words of God first.
28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ 29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice.
That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.”
(John the Baptist)
John 5: 35a.
(Jesus said): He (John the Baptist) was a lamp that burned and gave light….
Today I’m so thankful to have the honor to speak in this important meeting. I‘m going to share a message and the theme of the message is the portrait of being a pastor. And there are lots of things we can share about this subject, but I just focus 3 points in just a very short 10 minutes time-limit.
We can take a look at this wonderful picture. We could see Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist. Jesus praised John the Baptist to be the greatest prophet in the Old Testament period.
Why? It is because there’s no prophets other than John the Baptist who lived so closely to Jesus and also John the Baptist baptized Jesus. This was the greatest honor for John the Baptist. All the prophets in the Old Testament were looking forward and expected to see the Messiah who is Jesus to come, but only John the Baptist can see the Messiah face to face and also baptized the Messiah. John the Baptist is the most blessed and the greatest prophet in the Old Testament according to this context.
However, he was also one of the great prophets in church history, and Jesus our Lord praised him too. How to become a prophet? how to become a pastor? and how to become a servant of the Lord? Everyone can learn from John the Baptist.
From the passages we read in the beginning we can learn at least three things from John the Baptist:
28 You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ （John 3）
Being a pastor should know himself: his role, his identity, and his responsibility.
He is a shepherd for his flock. he should love his sheep, lead his sheep, and protect his sheep. He also should know his limits and his own gifts. He can’t come compare himself with other pastors. He is not someone, but he is himself, He is unique and created by God for special purpose. He can’t do everything. He should focus on what kind of gifts and job description God has granted him to serve the church. Just as John the Baptist focused on two things: calling people to repentance and introducing the Messiah to the people. And he was so happy about his role and his job description. His joy was full. We as being a pastor or servant of the Lord should know our gifts and our responsibility, and faithfully doing what God tells us to do, and also we should be very happy about that.
Of course, a pastor should oversee all the ministry in his congregation. However, he is not able to do all kinds of ministry in the church, he just needs to focus on what he is gifted and let his coworkers do the rest.
In other words, the pastor needs to build up a good team surrounding him and helping him, to work with him serving God together in the church. If we faithfully focusing on our gifts to serve the Lord, and also building up a good team around us to work together for the church, then our ministry will be blessed and thriving, just like John the Baptist. He was influential in the whole country, and was successful in his ministry. It is because he was focused on what God wanted him to do and he had a good team work. I have seen so many pastors Who do not have a good team, and he is not focused on what God wants him to do either, then eventually he was burnt out and was very frustrated in his ministry. We have to be careful about that. That is not what God wanted us to do. We have to learn from John the Baptist.
30 He must become greater; I must become less.” （John 3）
Being a pastor needs to exalt Christ and needs to humble himself by following Christ’s example of humility. Being a pastor will be honored by our heavenly Father. Jesus said 「Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.」John
However, he should not take the honor for granted. Instead he should be very humble by having a servant attitude. We call a pastor’s leadership is a servant-hood leadership. He needs to earn the honor and respect from his congregation.
For example, if somebody from the congregation calls a pastor for help on Monday. Monday is supposed to be a day-off for all pastors. He shouldn’t respond like that: Why do you call me on today? Today is Monday. Today is my day-off. You should not call me today. Please call me back on Tuesday. Instead he should say: Dear brother, you know today is my day-off, however I know that you must have something very important to tell me. Please tell me what can I do
for you now. This is a servant-hood leadership!
Today is a joyful and great day for dear brother Jeremy to be a pastor. It seems to all of us that we should celebrate for he gets a promotion to be a pastor from being a minister for so many years. However, from the Biblical perspective He got a demotion instead of promotion today. Why do I say that? Jesus said: 「But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.」Luke
Many years ago I was ordained as being a pastor. After finishing the whole program of my ordination ceremony, one of my associates told me: John, today is your great day and you deserved it. Let us celebrate Your promotion. Let the whole church treat you a wonderful dinner on a special night. I told him: Dear brother, thank you so much for your love: please don’t do that, for I realized that today I got a demotion instead of a promotion. I feel that I need to be more humble to serve my congregation after being a pastor. We pastors all need to be like Jesus: he’s the greatest, yet he is the humblest to serve us! That is the attitude what John the Baptist had: Let Christ become greater, and I become less! This is the portrait of being a pastor!
(Jesus said): He (John the Baptist) was a lamp that burned and gave light…. （John 5: 35a.）
Jesus praised John the Baptist that he was like a lamp shining light for the Lord. A lamp which can shine light has to be burnt. Just like a candle which can shine light has to be burnt. “Burning” means that you don’t feel comfortable and you have to pay the price. You don’t feel comfortable because the people who didn’t like the truth you told them to follow. They will hate you. You have to sacrifice yourself because you are telling the truth, and sometimes it ends up that you will cost your life by telling the truth. John the Baptist was shining the light of the truth for our God. He told people to repent from their sins. He dared to speak out against the corruption of the religious leaders. He even pointed out that the marriage of the king was illegal. Because of that he was put into jail and finally got killed.
Today being a pastor or a Christian is facing the same challenge if you want to shine the light of the truth for the Lord. We will face the conflict we will sense and feel the meaning of “burnings”. The burnings will make us uncomfortable. However, we got to have courage to tell the truth. It is because this is the portrait of being a pastor.
The above three points are the requirement of God for being a pastor and for all of us who want to serve Him, and we know that it is not easy. But with the grace of God we will succeed. Apostle Paul, who was the great servant of the Lord. He worked harder and suffered harder than other apostles. He said that it is the
Grace of God being with him to succeed. Not Paul himself alone can achieve success (1 Corinthians 15:10). We also can succeed in shinning the light for the Lord. We then will definitely be greatly honored by our heavenly Father in His kingdom. We give thanks to the Lord for His wonderful grace to us! May God bless His words.