So Do You Wanna Be a Pastor?
For those who are seeking the office of a pastor or minister, let me warn you at the outset. The ordained ministry is a ‘dangerous calling,’ as one author describes it. Of course, it's a glorious calling. The pastoral office, however, will cost the minister not just his reputation but really his whole life.
It may cause him to feel extreme emotions to the point of depression or death by hypertension or cardiac arrest, as he feels and empathizes with the pain, misery, frustration, failure or a combination of them, in the lives of God’s people. The pastor himself has his own trials and temptations to deal with.
Surely God equips and strengthens His servants in the ministry. And of course, the Lord knows the plight of His flock and in Christ He identifies with the struggles of His people. At times the Lord also uses His servants and spokesmen to let His people know how He feels toward them.
Such was the calling of the prophets in the Old Testament. Take the prophet Hosea, for example. “By forcing His prophet to marry the adulteress Gomer [Hosea 1:2]," says one commentator, "the Lord made Hosea feel something of the pain He Himself suffered because of His unfaithful people."
The same author continues saying, "Through the events in his own life, Hosea was made to feel and understand the complaint of God's wounded love - if only in a weak way. Prophecy and life became one for him. Hosea was not a parrot repeating God’s words but a living, animated witness. He spoke not just through his mouth but out of a broken heart. That’s an important lesson for all who speak for God and about Him.
“A second lesson taught us by the story of Hosea is that the Lord wants to make ‘total’ use of His servants. He doesn't just ask for their services as spokesmen but claims all the aspects of their lives, making demands even on their marriage and their most intimate feelings.
“Because Hosea serves God in all that he is and does, he is like his great namesake Jesus. When we encounter Hosea in the Scriptures as someone who has come to do God's will, we are really encountering Christ. God has given us an example in the person of Hosea, in the hope that we will walk in Hosea's footsteps. The Lord does not need servants who are willing to do ‘something’ for Him: He needs people who are willing to give themselves ‘totally’" (Herman Veldkamp, "Hosea: Love's Complaint," 21).
When Christ's bride, the Church, flirts with the world and the diversions and idols it offers such as temporal power, fleeting fame and pleasure, enormous amount of money, illicit sex, virtual reality, and many more, she displeases the Lord, her husband, and attracts God’s loving discipline.
In His jealousy, which is His protective love, God will speak against the unfaithfulness of His people. Ordinarily He sends His messenger to confront them and to call them to repent. He doesn’t want His people to pledge loyalty or allegiance to Him and at the same time play the harlot.
That's why God's prophets, like Hosea, call the children of Israel (see Hosea 2:2) to speak against their mother's unfaithfulness. As children of the Church we ought to rise up and speak against our mother's compromises with the world.
I think one of those compromises is the softening of the gospel's call to repentance from sin and unto holiness, which is our wholehearted devotion to Christ.
Usually churches or ministers who soften the gospel call of repentance and radical departure from sin are inclined to do such in order to avoid being tagged as legalistic, intolerant or unloving. Their secret goal is to attract more people in the church.
While we cannot prevent worldly and unregenerate people from joining the church, we should make them uncomfortable in our midst unless and until they turn away from their sin.
The church does this by faithfully teaching and preaching the whole counsel of God. The church was sent by God to call all people to turn away from worldliness and idolatry and to turn to God in faith and loyalty. He alone is able to save us in Christ and purifies us by the Spirit of holiness.