The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. (1 Timothy 3:1)
When we look up the definition of "noble," we see that it pertains to the aristocracy, to hereditary ranks, or to those of high character. Does your pastor belong to the nobility as do dukes and barons? Probably not.
Is he of exalted mental or moral character, several cuts above the members of your congregation? You might wish so, he might strive to be, but it' s not likely, since pastors, like their parishioners, are poor, miserable sinners.
However, Paul isn' t talking about the individual men who hold the pastoral office but rather about the office itself. It' s the place God chooses to use in giving His gifts to the Church. It' s a noble office because it speaks on behalf of Creation' s King.
All of us can find something unusual about our pastors. They often come from different parts of the country than where they serve. They may have odd accents, unusual clothing choices, or strange tastes in food. They may be numbingly homely or stunningly handsome, but they all have one thing in common: They are God' s servants 24/7/365.
As you consider these standards for your spiritual leaders, you realize that God expects the same things from all of His people, except that some newer believers lack the spiritual maturity needed. As you wrestle with living a godly life in word and deed, you do so on your own behalf. So does your pastor — but he also does so on behalf of you and the rest of your congregation and as a public representative of Christ.
As you receive God' s gifts of forgiveness and reconciliation from your pastor, may the Lord move you to live in harmony with your shepherd, forgiving him, praying for him, and giving him cause for joy as he thinks of you.
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.