Reflections: Thursday, The Sixth Week of Epiphany

February 16, 2023

Today’s Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:1-9

Daily Lectionary: Job 12:1-6, 12-25, John 5:30-47

“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” (1 Cor. 3:7)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. You might really like your pastor. You might think your pastor is out to lunch. Maybe your church has more than one pastor, but there’s one you’d rather go to.

What Paul is warning us of here is “behaving only in a human way.” (v. 3) when it comes to pastors. The Church at Corinth was having a big problem with this. Earlier in chapter 1:12, it was reported that people drew lines between following Paul, Apollos, Cephas (Peter), or Christ. Imagine that! Pitting the servants of Christ against the Lord Himself! The “human way” places the worthiness and power on the individual.

I’ve been told, “Pastor, you’ve done so much for us” and “I want you to preach my funeral.”  It’s high praise, to be sure. But, the “human way” wants to say there’s something indispensable about me. You can probably imagine what praise Peter or Paul had gotten because of their personal history with the Lord. It’s only natural (not in a good way) to want to put all your eggs in your chosen basket.

It’s really kind of funny that we do this, because when Jesus came to His hometown to preach, the congregation was so enraged by His preaching that they were set to throw him off a cliff (Luke 4:16-30). To be honest, some congregations have done that to their pastors, too.

We need to repent of our “human way” of looking at pastors, and be on guard against this kind of jealousy and strife. While every pastor has individual strengths and weaknesses, that’s not where our faith should be. What are we pastors? “Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.” Pastors are fellow sinners who have a special place in the church, but their labors are only ever in service to the Lord.

Pastoral vacancies can put this to the test. Although it hurts to lose a beloved pastor, it also chastises us for how we make too much of the man. In the vacancy, the congregation asks, “What are we looking for in a pastor?” blind to who that man may be. That’s because for a servant of Christ, the essential thing will be the same no matter who it is. He will be the man through whom the Good Shepherd ministers to His flock. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

 O Gracious Father, You led Your holy apostles to ordain ministers for the proclamation of Your Word and the faithful administration of the Sacraments of Christ. Grant to each congregation the guidance of the Holy Spirit to choose a suitable pastor according to Your will for the blessing of Your Church in every place; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

-Pastor Michael A. Miller is Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Lebanon, OR.,

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.