Reflections: October 7, 2020
Wednesday of the 17th Week after Trinity
By Gaven Mize
Today's Reading: Small Catechism: Table of Duties, To Bishops, Pastors, and Preachers
Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 6:10-25; Matthew 9:18-38
Daily Lectionary: Deuteronomy 6:10-25; Matthew 9:18-38
Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. (Small Catechism: Table of Duties, To Bishops, Pastors, and Preachers)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. "Beyond reproach" is an essential attribute for bishops, pastors, and preachers. It is also the one you hear district presidents, circuit visitors, and congregation members throwing around more than any other. But Luther gives us a much bigger picture in his Small Catechism. He allows the pastor to understand his role better without having to be beaten with the reproach club quite as often. Here in Timothy we have the classic list. Pastors are also called to the teaching of true doctrine and are expected to hold a pure confession of the faith. The Table of Duties reminds us of Titus 1:9: "He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it."
In this epistle to Titus, the pastor is urged to trust in the word of the Lord for all that he has, and all he will suffer for the sake of the Christian faith. A pastor must not not only preach winsome sermons and be completely likable but must proclaim the message of Christ crucified for sinners. This is no small task for a pastor who is also a sinner. Pastors would love to take the path of least resistance in times and situations of conflict, but that is not what they are called to do. All that is required of a pastor is best done when the forgiveness of sins is laid upon the people of God. Then the Gospel is no longer theoretical but tangible, and frees from sinful bonds. In this we find the resounding confession of the true faith. In this the pastor becomes and remains a servant who has done well and has been faithful with much. Thank God that he has put such a pastor in your life to deliver God's Gifts. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Lord, help us ever to retain The Catechism's doctrine plain As Luther taught the Word of truth In simple style to tender youth. ("Lord, Help Us Ever to Retain," LSB 865, st.1)
-Rev. Gaven Mize is the pastor of Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hickory, NC.
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