Reflections: August 4, 2020
Tuesday of the Eighth Week after Trinity
By Joel Shaltanis
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Have you ever been to the ordination of a new pastor? When a pastor is put into the Office, he is surrounded by other pastors who lay hands on him and speak words of blessing (Acts 6:6, 1 Timothy 4:14). When I participate, I speak Acts 20:28, because this little verse has a lot to say about pastors, the Church, and the Lord.
First, it says that pastors have accountability for themselves and their congregation. Like a shepherd who is on the lookout for wolves and wandering sheep, the pastor is to watch over the congregation with a careful eye, but also train this eye on his own life to avoid becoming Satan's prey.
Next, we read that God Himself makes and calls pastors to care for the Church through the Holy Spirit. Notice who the Church belongs to: it is the "Church of God." Every pastor must remember that the church he serves is not his church, but God's. This only makes sense, because the next thing we learn here is that God Himself purchased His Church with His own blood. The blood that Jesus shed on the Cross for His Church was the very blood of God. What a mystery! How can Almighty God shed blood and die? Yet that is exactly what God was doing in Christ.
You are a part of this Church, bought and paid for by God Himself! All your sins are covered by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7). There is now, therefore, no condemnation for you (Romans 8:1). God has given a pastor to watch over you, care for you, and remind you of who you are in Christ. As Paul said, "I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). That means a faithful pastor won't just tell you things you like to hear, but will talk about all the things in God's Word. The Law and the Gospel. The threats and the promises. He will sound the warning when the wolves are close at hand or when you wander off, and He will speak words of peace and comfort, assurance and blessing, This is what God Himself has called him to do. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Anoint them prophets, men who are intent To be Your witnesses in word and deed, Their hearts aflame, their lips made eloquent, Their eyes awake to ev'ry human need. ("God of the Prophets, Bless the Prophets' Sons" LSB 682, st.2)
-Rev. Joel Shaltanis is pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Plano, TX.
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