I have never been completely comfortable in my own skin as a pastor, a clergyman, a man of the cloth … yuk! I hate it when people are weirded out by my presence in a group out in the community, perhaps when someone says something a bit off-color. Suddenly realizing the preacher dude heard that, next follows the obligatory apology, “Oh, excuse me reverend.” Reverend? I hate that word also and only use it on official signatures like a wedding certificate.
In the Roman church before the Reformation, there was a significant divide between the sacred and the secular, replete with monastic divisions and the grand honor of the priesthood, etc. On the other hand, the Reformers taught that everything was sacred, that the glory of God was the biggest idea of big ideas. As the most-quoted phrase of the Westminster Shorter Catechism says, “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”
This totally squares with Scripture, as is evident from this collection of passages …
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God; Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (1 Cor. 10:31; 1 Peter 4:11; Rev. 1:6; 2 Peter 3:1; Eph. 3:21; Rev. 7:12; Romans 11:36)
So we are all full-time servants of God, no matter what is our occupation. I often look out at you folks “in the pews” and envy your lives in the secular world. There you get to be daily around so many people whom you can witness to and live Christ in front of … maybe being used to bring them to a saving knowledge of the truth and into fellowship in the family of faith. I have over the years had to find ways of doing that part-time here and there, doing so through community clubs, coaching, etc.
It all really is all about God … everything. You are in full-time service out there just as much as I am in here, and it could be argued that you are more critical on the frontlines. Embrace that, to the glory of God.
This ends the fifth of five writings on the five summary statements of the Reformation – having celebrated the 500th anniversary of this incredible movement that changed the world. I was pleased and blessed to see how much it was mentioned both in the Christian world and even in secular media.
This also ends our writings on the 2017 For Our City campaign and study of the book of James. Next, we will begin in December a long series on the life of Christ that extends through two Sundays after Easter. The associated writings with this next series called “Footsteps” will have a total of 97 parts through the Gospel of Luke, beginning on Thursday, November 30th. See you then!
This is something that I have always appreciated about you Randy!!
At the risk of pointing out something you are doing right you wrote:
“I have never been completely comfortable in my own skin as a pastor, a clergyman, a man of the cloth … yuk! I hate it when people are weirded out by my presence in a group out in the community, perhaps when someone says something a bit off-color. Suddenly realizing the preacher dude heard that, next follows the obligatory apology, “Oh, excuse me reverend.” Reverend? I hate that word also and only use it on official signatures like a wedding certificate.”
“NIV Matthew 23:1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long;
6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;
7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others.
8 “But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.
9 And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah.
11 The greatest among you will be your servant.
12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
(Matt. 23:1-12 NIV)”