Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. (1 Corinthians 4:1)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If you go to a really fancy restaurant, you may meet a wine steward. A wine steward's whole job is to know the restaurant's stock of wine backwards and forwards and to be able to recommend to you just exactly which wine would be best with your chosen meal. In a similar way, St. Paul says that pastors are “stewards of the mysteries,” that is, of the Gospel and Sacraments. Their job is to give you exactly what you need for your sins.
Sometimes a pastor has to call someone to repentance, perhaps even refuse them the Lord's body and blood if they will not repent and let go of their sin. Sometimes a pastor must repeat the Good News of Christ over and over to a sinner who is troubled and can't seem to get past his or her guilt. Whatever it is, your pastor knows how to apply God's Word to you.
And the application of God's Word to your life isn't just a matter of telling you how to live or giving you some advice on how to get along with others. He applies the Law to your life, blasting away at your sins and crushing them. He applies the Gospel to your life, like a soothing balm that heals you.
The mysteries of which a pastor is steward are the gifts of Jesus. Baptism. The preaching and teaching of the Scriptures. Holy Absolution. The Lord's Supper. These are the gifts the steward, the pastor, has for you to call you to repentance and to deliver forgiveness. Jesus has called your pastor to be a faithful steward—not telling you what you want to hear but what you need to hear in any given situation.
St. Paul leaves us in no doubt that our pastors are given to us by our Lord Jesus for the purpose of giving His gifts to us as we need them. The Lord has called your pastor and so you can have every confidence that the same Lord who died and rose for you will give you just what you need from His Word for your life as a child of God. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Send, O Lord, Your Holy Spirit On Your servant now, we pray; Let him prove a faithful shepherd That no lamb be led astray. Your pure teaching to proclaim, To extol Your holy name, And to feed Your lambs, dear Savior, Make his aim and sole endeavor. (LSB 681:1)
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Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.