The Pastor's Sin
JENS NORVED takes a look at the pastor’s ever-constant companion…
Source: Perspective Vo10 No3&4 © Perspective 2003
Pride is an ever-constant companion for the pastor. Pride comes with us to our study. It selects our passages and helps mould our illustrations. It decides how we are best to use them to make us look good.
Pride walks with us to the pulpit. It chooses our words and actions with great care, that all may see how talented our gifts, how vast our knowledge and great our education. It takes a striking and sharp passage, and melds it to what we know will be received with less offence. And in this way leaves the fiery, lively, marrow-severing sword of God safely tucked in its scabbard!
And afterwards, pride follows us home, and helps us assess the service and how well the laity received us. If we sense some were affected by our words we rejoice gladly knowing that it was us who helped them on in Christ. If we sense some were unhappy or unmoved we are cast down, not so much as out of true concern for their souls, but out of hurt that they did not recognize our hard work. As such, pride gently turns the pastor from his calling to seek God’s glory, to the greater pursuit of seeking his own.
Finally, pride assists the pastor after sin. Pride convinces us to cover over our moral failures. Rather than confess our sin so that our trusted hearers are reminded of God’s gracious work in us, and we are kept accountable, pride encourages us to fear more the danger of being exposed, than the judgment of God on the day He returns.
Pride is the same in every generation, and while the words and manners and acts may change, with pride, the motivation always remains unchanged (c.f. 1 Cor 8:1)
[Inspired and adapted from Richard Baxter’s The Reformed Pastor, (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1974) pages 137-150]
Jens Norved is a pastor at Unichurch, Brisbane, and editor of gracenotworks(www.gracenotworks.com)