Monday, August 26, 2013

Pastoral Pings (Plus): When Being a Pastor Breaks a Papa’s Heart

          Early in my ministry I was taught a very simple principle: people will measure my sincerity in ministry to them by the way I relate to their children. This tuned my heart to guard against any tendency to give adults preferential treatment because they had more to contribute to helping me lead the church. The fact is that a pastor is a shepherd, and the babies, children and teenagers are to feel as much like little lambs in the flock as any of the adults would ever experience.

          While I have sought to be as concerned for children and teenagers as I am for adults, and to have a heart that tries to sincerely join God’s work in every person I meet, even when it is looking into a baby’s eyes during bottle-feeding, this principle of ministry has had a look-in-the-mirror kind of effect. In other words, it has made me feel things about the way men treat my children.

          I suppose this is just normal development, that if I am called to be a shepherd who blesses little children after the example Jesus gave us,[1] that I would also desire to see other men blessing my children out of their own Christ-like love for everyone in their lives. Sadly, that has rarely been the case. Too many church-going men follow the pattern of sacrificing others on the altar of their own self-protection. God hates religions that sacrifice their children to their gods.[2]

          Under my Papa’s hat, the issue for my daughter is why the majority of church-going men who have ever had a personal relationship with her in the church have been so quick to discard her as soon as they are uncomfortable with a situation. The issue for my son is why men purported to be contributing to the leadership of the church would use his struggles as a means of judging and condemning his dad, rather than as an opportunity to band godly men together to help teenage boys survive the most difficult transition in life.

          Under my Pastor’s hat, one of the characteristics of my ministry has revolved around this simple question: why do so many church-going adults have the inability to give the love of Jesus Christ to people around them? Whether it is husbands who don’t know how to give Jesus’ love to their wives, parents who don’t know how to give Jesus’ love to their children, people in one congregation who can’t show any love to people from another congregation, or family members who don’t have enough love of Jesus to give to other family members, the issue is the same, that too many people who have been in the church for a long time do not know how to express Jesus’ sacrificial, lay-down-your-life[3] kind of love.

          I am sure that there are burdens that Pastors and Pas must carry as men who are after the heart of God. Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief in his sharing of our human condition.[4] It makes sense that men who are responsible for others would feel the same things. However, knowing that there are such burdens also sends us to God with a unique hope: we can lay our complaints before God, and know that he hears, receives, and answers us when we call to him in our heartaches for our children and our churches. Here are some examples:

          But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.”[5]

          “With my voice I cry out to the Lord; with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord. I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him.”[6]

          One comfort that both Pastors and Pas must hold onto is this: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.[7] If we continually lay our complaints before the Lord our God, trusting him to work his “good, acceptable and perfect”[8] will in both our lives, and the lives of our children and churches, we can rest in the certain hope that we shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!”[9] and experience God himself wiping away all our tears and sorrows when we arrive in our eternal home.[10]

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)


[1] 13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (Mark 10)
[2] “For when they had slaughtered their children in sacrifice to their idols, on the same day they came into my sanctuary to profane it. And behold, this is what they did in my house.” (Ezekiel 23:39)
[3] “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.” (I John 3:16)
[4] He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)
[5] Psalm 55:16-17
[6] Psalm 142:1-2
[7] Romans 8:28
[8] Romans 12:2
[9] Psalm 27:13
[10] Isaiah 25:8; “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

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