Reflections: July 10, 2020
Friday of the Fourth Week after Trinity
By Alexander Lange
And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. (Acts 14:23)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Many today think that having a pastor is optional. Some even think that it isn't even a very good option. I mean, I can pray and read my Bible without someone fresh out of seminary poking his nose into my business, and those pastors are such a strain on the budget anyway.
The apostles didn't think pastors were optional or that they were a burden. After Paul and his fellow missionaries established a congregation, they appointed elders or presbyters. That's what they called pastors back then, and this wasn't just an idea the apostles came up with. According to Paul, Jesus gave pastors to His Church (Ephesians 4:11). Jesus trained the very first pastors – the Twelve.
Your pastor is a gift. Yes, you have a Bible, but your pastor can help you interpret it. He can warn you about false and dangerous interpretations of the Bible. More importantly, he can apply it to you. He can preach Law and Gospel.
Let's talk about that Gospel. Jesus died for the sins of the world, but not everyone will be saved. How do you receive forgiveness? Well, your Lord gave you a pastor to make sure that you get that forgiveness. Your pastor is there to immerse you in forgiveness at the baptismal font, to speak that Absolution into your ears, and to place Christ's Body and Blood, which communicates God's "not guilty" for you, right into your mouth.
Yes, your pastor is a gift. Cherish him. Show him kindness, pray for him, and make sure he is well paid. Cherish your pastor, so that he is always there to proclaim the Gospel. 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. ("Send, O Lord, Your Holy Spirit" LSB 681, st. 1)
- Rev. Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Evangelical Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.
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