“Jesus began to speak…to the crowds: ‘When you went out to John in the desert, what did you expect to see? A blade of grass bending in the wind? What did you go out to see? A man dressed up in fancy clothes? People who dress like that and live in luxury are found in palaces! Tell me, what did you go out to see?’”
When you picture a pastor in your mind, what image arises? When you go to church or turn on the Christian television station, whom do you expect to see?
A smart-suited man with well-oiled hair and slick sermons to match, who runs his mega-ministry as if it were a Fortune 500 company?
A priest richly robed in liturgical righteousness, performing rituals that have lost their meaning for far too many?
A Bible totin’, Scripture quotin’ old-fashioned Southern gentleman?
A “Father Mulcahy”-type, seen on reruns of M*A*S*H, who is kindly and gentle, but rather ineffective in spreading the potent message of the Gospel?
A sober scholar whose dreams at night are even in Hebrew and Greek?
A backwoodsy “fire and brimstone” preacher in a clerical collar, who keeps his flock in line through fear?
A charismatic and enthusiastic young man who entertains the masses with a message of peace and prosperity?
A wise, white-haired, self-sacrificing servant in a black suit and carrying a well-worn Bible?
When I picture a pastor in my mind, this is what I see:
A smiling man gathering the little children around his knees while he lovingly lays his hand in blessing upon each of them.
A thoughtful person who fixes a nutritious early-morning breakfast for his hard-working friends who have been up all night.
A celebrant who joyfully joins in the weddings and other important life events of his family and friends.
A story-teller who uses words to paint kingdom pictures for those who have a difficult time understanding theology.
A strong spiritual warrior who knows how to stand against the devil by means of prayer, fasting, and the skillful use of Scripture.
A humble servant who feeds the hungry, brings hope to the hopeless, and washes the feet of dirty souls.
A compassionate and comforting minister to the ill, sorrowing, and disabled.
A wise leader who renews his strength by separating himself at times from the flock and going away to a quiet place to spend time in solitude with the Father of us all.
When I picture a pastor in my mind…
I see Jesus.
Scripture quotation taken from Luke 7:24-26, TEV
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