by Bola Olu-Jordan
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Many people nowadays take Pastoring to be a lucrative profession. To them, it’s more of a career than calling. The glamour, respect, accolades, returns, etc, are part of those things than endeared them to it, forgetting that to whom much is given, much is required. (Lk.12:48). God never asks what He has not given. But if He has given anything, He will ask for it.
One of the many surprises that will be in heaven is that God will never ask us how many souls we have brought to the kingdom. He is interested in how many of those whom He has given to us we are able to bring in. There will not be official announcement of who bring in the greatest crowd as He is not looking for crowd but disciples. Yet, many have abandoned the souls given to them because they are few and are gone after crowd not given to them.
God gives everybody according to his ability. He gave some 5, some12, some 50 and others 100, etc. For every single soul given to us, there is a responsibility attached. It is suicide to abandon them simply because they are embarrassingly few and look for crowd, who belongs to others. Many are not content with the ministry or office God has called them into; they covet the other office because it looks to be more lucrative and public oriented. To God, success in ministry is not in the number, it is in the delivery. It is not what is delivered, but how it is delivered.
Let us learn from the prayers of Jesus: “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled” John 17:12. The quality of our offering is more important than the offering itself. Cain gave God an offering, so did Abel. One was accepted and the other rejected. We can’t just present anything to God. It has to be what He desires. We cant just give God crowd, thinking we are doing Him favour, He needs disciples. He needs children. He needs sheep, not goats. He needs kings and priests, not slaves of sins.
Are we seeking the souls God has given to us or we are busy building our own empire for fame? Are we giving to God what He want from us or what we think He wants from us, or even worse still, what we want for Him? Are we in the ministry by burden or by leading? We may have as many souls as possible but are we sure one of them is given to us by God?
Let’s learn from the parable of the talent. He gave to one 5, to another 3 and to another 1. He asked them to ‘occupy’ with it and came later to ask for what He gave. However, the one he gave the 1 talent to thought it was too small and so he went to hide it. To him, he was doing God the best service, but he was sincerely wrong. How many times have we laboured for God gallivanting from one place to the other, busy working, trying to fix things, organizing rallies, programs, crusades and events when in actual fact, He wants us to be by His side. Sometimes, we can be too busy working for the king to the extent of forgetting to take care of the king.
It is interesting to know that Jesus had only 12 disciples, out of the multitudes of crowd. He had some other disciples aside from the 12 but it was through the 12 that He would commit the apostolic work. While He was leaving, He presented them back to God in prayer. He was able to deliver 11 out of the 12. One wondered why Jesus did not choose more than 12. Didn’t He have the grace to do more? Somebody once said Jesus had the highest number of disciples in history at a time. He asked us to go and make disciples. If Jesus had 12 at a time, why must we look for crowd?
Can we account for the soul of every single person under us, when we are asked to give account of each? They are too precious in the eyes of God for us to give Him an excuse. How many of those that profess you as their Pastor do you know one-on-one? Their names, houses, work, etc. That is one of the duties of a good shepherd. He shepherds only the number of cattle he can effectively care for. A good shepherd calleth his own by name. They know His voice. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers” John 10:26-27. He knows their weaknesses. He knows those who are weak and those diseased. “The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them” (Ezekiel 34:4). He knows the type of food they eat. He does not give them junk. He deliberately prepares food for them and see to it that they are healthy. If one gets missing, he leaves the rest and go looking for it and rejoices when he finds it. (Lk. 15:4) His life is wrapped up in the sheep. Nothing dares attacks the fold. He lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11). But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep (John 10:12). He lay down his life to defend the sheep with the last drop of his blood.
The sheep know his voice. They are familiar with it. They understand his language, his claps, his whistles, his shouts, etc. He is part of them. He identifies with them. He does not love them because of the milk they produce. They are his greatest assets but he does not trade them off to enrich himself. He does not steal other sheep to multiply his fold. He feeds them with good meal so that they can reproduce young, healthy ones. Additions to the fold is by birth not by crusading, or canvassing.
It’s time as many people as answers to the title of a Pastor check themselves whether they really are one or something else. You are not a Pastor because you went to school or because you love to. You are because you are called to. Let every man wherein he is called abide. I may love to be a pastor or studied to be one or even find myself to be one, but I’m I called to be one? I may desire to be a Pastor but God may call me to be an Evangelist. Make your calling and election sure 2Pet. 1:10). It is not of him that willeth or him that runneth (Rom. 9:16). Just as we cannot determine the type of family we are born into or our stature, so can we not determine our calling. It is he that calls you that gives you instruction of what he want you to do. You cannot dictate to him. We are waiters. A waiter carries out the bidding of the Master. Will the clay tell the porter what it wants him to make him to be? Just as the maid looks upon her mistress and the servant upon his master, so are we supposed to look upon Him for what he called us into. We must find out what He is calling us to be. It must not be by desire or by vocation.
As many as are shepherds will give account of each of the sheep we shepherd. And it is not just any sheep, it has to be the ones given to us by God. We cannot shepherd another person’s sheep. Nobody is crowned running another man’s race. We must accept the children God gives us regardless of their condition. A Yoruba adage says if we compare children, we will kill one. Why must you covet another person’s children? Accept the ones you have and work on them, whether small or big. If you have none, wait. If you must get children at all cost, you run the risk of getting demonic children from god or goddesses. God cannot ask from you what He did not give you. If He did not give you any, He would not ask any. You cannot offer to God what He has not given you. If He has given you souls, He will not ask for crowd. If He has given you sheep, He will not accept goat. 100 goats are not equal to 1 sheep, even a thousand goat is not up to 1 sheep. Do not seek for crowd, seek for souls.
God is not interested in how many converts you make every Sunday or how many people respond to your altar call, He is interested in how many of them becomes disciples. It is “he that endures to the end that will be saved” (Mat. 10:22). It is the end that justifies the means. It is tragically possible to have 10,000 converts in a lifetime of pastoring without a single one becoming a disciple. God looks for disciple. Disciples are not made by Sunday, Sunday sermons and once a week Bible Study, prayer meeting and a night vigil per month, disciples are made by daily instructions. Jesus called them in and for 3 and a half years of daily instructions, teachings, etc, He made 11. Even when Jesus ‘died’, they all dispersed. If Jesus had one of the greatest number of disciples and they were only 11, must we not rather trust God for as many as He has given to us. It is better to get to heaven with one complete disciple than a thousand convert or a million crowd. Heaven is not for crowd. Crowd naturally gravitates to hell because the road is wide but the former, narrow.
If we, as Pastors, will get out of the craze for crowd and number to warm our pews so that we can be called a success and concentrate on developing at least raising just only one disciple in one whole year or even 2 years as Jesus raised 12 in 3 and ˝ years, what fulfillment will it be? Doesn’t that look too small? How many DISCIPLES do you have in your years of pastoring? Sadly, today, success in ministry is judged by the number of crowd you ‘manage’, whether or not they are sheep or goats. This is the greatest achievement of Satan; making many religious but never having faith. “ever learning, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”. 2Tim. 3:7.
The saddest part of the story is that it is tragically possible to be a pastor without ever being a disciple! If you were never a disciple, you can never raise a disciple. No one can give what he does not have. This is actually one of the reasons why we no longer make disciples. A goat will always give birth to a goat.
Dear Pastor, remember, to whom much is given much is expected. A servant who knoweth his master’s will and doeth it not shall be beaten with many stripes.
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