“He didn’t even shake my hand.” “He didn’t visit me in the hospital.” “He just walked on by and ignored me.” There are more than a few who have been disappointed by something a pastor did or did not do for them. I suppose the real question is whether it is a perceived or actual slight. Are you justified in your feelings or not? But, even if you find grounds for justification it begs the question, “Why be offended?” Does it really matter what he did or did not do? Do you know what kind of day he has had or whether he was malicious in his negligence? Does the man deserve a little grace and unconditional love?
I have yet to meet a single perfect pastor. In fact, it could quite possibly be true that God actually calls those farthest from perfection to be His clergy. Some of the most mixed up, messed up people I know are pastors and I am often one of them; mixed and messed up that is. Depending on the time of year and length of time since my last vacation I may not know up from down. In such moments I may have trouble remembering the names of my oldest friends so if I disappoint you it is likely an unintended consequence of the “scrambled eggs” between by ears. Of course my assistant tries to help but there is only so much two brains, a computer and smart phone can keep track of and sometimes things fall through the cracks.
What I need is someone to believe, really believe that I am just a normal guy called to an extraordinary profession for which no one is, in himself, remotely qualified to do. All too often pastors are instead seen as a superhuman, mega-spiritual men who always have it all together. I am a man just like you. I need the same grace, encouragement and patience you need. Sometimes I need far more of all three of these than you! Not because I am better than you…no, no, no…but because I don’t have it altogether nearly as good as you. You see, I may be gifted to teach God’s word but sometimes the word I am preaching is more for me than you!
Every pastor should be committed to God and holiness but remember your pastor isn’t God and nowhere near perfect holiness. Grace, patience and love are what he needs. If you are willing to demonstrate all three you just might find a man who will inspire, lead and encourage you to great things with God.
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