The Fig Leaf of Pastoral Ministry: Part 2

Part 1 is here.

“… they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.”     
     â€” Genesis 3:7

I have a theory. Or two.

Most pastors struggle with their work as a pastor being their righteousness more than most other Christians do with their vocation. I mean, most people don’t look at their vocation as inherently spiritual and have heard so many sermons and lessons about how they must not seek to be justified before God by their works or work. But a pastor’s work is blatantly spiritual and so his work and how well it’s going before God and men bleeds over into his perception of how God accepts him. As my daughter says, “It’s easy breezy, lemon squeezy.”

My other theory is one I’ve been working out for a while now.  A lot of you won’t buy it. That’s alright, I ain’t selling anyhow.

Here it is – Most pastors preach out of this reality.

Most pastors, because they have justified themselves before God based on their ministry as a pastor, preach a message that betrays this almost every week. And not just in legalism. No, it’s more subtle. I think the reason pastors preach about doing work that is ministry (evangelism, missions. etc.) to plumbers and accountants, homemakers and doctors is because well, this is how they justify themselves.

It’s all they got because it’s all they got.

Let’s face it, a sermon helping work-a-day folks work out how God is glorified in their vocation is the bosom buddy of unicorns and yetis. Whereas, sermons pushing a nurse to question if she is doing something sufficiently spiritual are legion.

And why not? The pastor himself seeks to justify his own self through ministry. Of course he is going to preach out of that belief, even if he can’t see it. It can get so screwed up you can seek to justify yourself before God by how well you preached the gospel of justification, wretched men that we are.

I speak of what I know. One finger is pointing at others but 4 have drawn a bead on me.

With confidence I can say I’ve sported last year’s fig leaf fashions.
And then asked others to try it on.
Sometimes I’d plead.
Sometimes I’d ridicule.
Sometimes I’d flatter.
And then I’d feel better about my own threads.

(To be continued…)

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