A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (Table of Duties: To Bishops, Pastors and Preachers: 1 Timothy 3:2-4)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Table of Duties is the part of the Catechism that shows us, through various Scripture passages, what the Lord desires for various callings and vocations. It begins with the instructions for pastors.
Are pastors held to a higher standard than others? In some senses, yes. But they are sinners, too. St. Paul writes to Timothy that pastors should have those qualifications listed above. Some people use this list as a checklist by which they can get rid of a pastor if he fails at one or more of them. Does failing in these areas disqualify a pastor from being a pastor?
The Lord establishes these qualifications for the Office of the Holy Ministry so that we can have pastors who care for us in Christ. The Lord desires that a pastor faithfully preach and teach His Word so that we sinners are saved. Anything that gets in the way of that is bad. You can think of it this way: For the pastor, these things are the Law by which he must examine himself and learn to repent of his sins. But for you they are good news—the Lord gives you a pastor who is faithful and committed to the work the Lord has given him.
So what if your pastor messes up? What if he forgets to visit someone in the hospital or blows off a question you thought was very important? Well, give your pastor what he gives you: forgiveness. After all, His job is to deliver Jesus, who died and rose to rescue us from our sins. Your pastor baptized you, absolves you and gives you Jesus' body and blood. With that forgiveness he has passed on to you, pass it back to him so that he may, with a clear conscience continue to do the work the Lord has given Him to do for your blessing, as He is the one Jesus has given you to give you Jesus. 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.