Godly Pastors

by Richard Mansel, managing editor
shepherd44.jpgYears ago, I was with a group doing mission work in New Zealand. One day we visited a seal colony on the beach. That was extraordinary and something to remember forever.
However, another notable event occurred that bears a lot of consideration as we try to understand discipleship and church leadership. Two men on horseback passed in front of our group driving about two dozen sheep through a gate.
In the western world, we drive sheep while shepherds in other parts of the world lead sheep. “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (John 10:4, NKJV).
There is a profound difference between driving sheep and leading them. If we will take the time to ponder it, we can see a spiritual challenge and a possible obstacle placed before us.
Prideful, stubborn, selfish people see everything in terms of themselves. Through this lens, we see things in a distorted manner. When we hear submission, we equate it with slavery and inferiority.
However, the word carries no such meaning in Scripture. It simply means to place ourselves under something or someone. When we place ourselves under them, it does not mean we are inferior or that we will be abused or mistreated. It is a matter of roles and responsibilities.
Submission is imperative to salvation (James 4:10).
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body” (Ephesians 5:22-23).
Christ loves and gives support to his church, so husbands should do the same for their wives. We must treat our wives as treasures given from God (Genesis 2:18-25).
Similar principles are applied to serving under elders.
The author of Hebrews says, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you” (Hebrews 13:17).
Many bristle at the thought of someone ruling over them. However, shepherds submit to God and are to be gentle and loving, just as a godly husband would. He will elevate the sheep and provide for them in any way that he can.
These pastors should be men that saints will follow and listen to, if they are men of God, following the Savior to heaven. A pastor does not rule with a whip but instructs and leads with gentleness and meekness of heart (1 Corinthians 11:1).
We will say that no one will tell us what to do. Yet, we will follow a firefighter out of a fire, a doctor who seeks a cure for our cancer and a police officer out of a gunfight.
When it suits us, we will follow. However, when our pride consumes us, we refuse. Satan exploits our weaknesses and vanities to draw us away from God.
Why are mortal dangers more important than spiritual dangers?
Pastors watch out for our souls. God will hold them responsible if they do not. Yet, if they do and we refuse to listen, the burden is on our shoulders (Ezekiel 33:1-11).
Jesus is the Savior and we must give him complete obedience (John 14:15). His plan is that we will have leadership in our congregations so that we will have guidance and instruction (Acts 20:28).
Let us trust God’s plan! The omnipotent, omniscient God deserves it.

2 Replies to “Godly Pastors”

  1. Great article. The problem, as I see it, is two fold- faithless leaders and faithless followers. How can one follow those leaders who are lacking in faith and do not set a good example. Many leaders fail to set a good example in obeying the most fundamental commands of God. Then some followers trust in themselves, not God. So they are unwilling to be submissive to the most qualified leaders.

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