I was sent this funny story recently, it made me laugh but it also made me think.
One day a young pastor decided to share with the children at church a life lesson from Psalm 23.
He told the them about sheep, that they weren’t smart and needed lots of guidance, and that a shepherd’s job was to stay close to the sheep, protect them from wild animals and keep them from wandering off and doing dumb things that would get them hurt or killed.
He pointed to the little children in the room and said that they were the sheep and needed lots of guidance.
Then the pastor put his hands out to the side, palms up in a dramatic gesture, and with raised eyebrows said to the children, “If you are the sheep then who is the shepherd?” He was pretty obviously indicating himself.
A silence of a few seconds followed. Then a young visitor said, ” Jesus, Jesus is the shepherd.”
The young pastor, obviously caught by surprise, said to the boy, “Well, then, who am I?”
The little boy frowned thoughtfully and then said with a shrug, “I guess you must be a sheep dog.”
I think the story caught my eye because I’ve been thinking a lot recently about this topic.
It’s like what Paul said to Timothy – there is only one mediator between God and man.
Why I’ve been thinking about this
Every day I receive about 100 new emails and a good portion of them are people expecting me to be their mediator between them and God.
- Can you pray for X?
- Can you explain Y in the Bible?
- Can you tell me what God’s will is about Z in my life?
- This happened to me – can you tell me what to do next?
Now I love to help people and obviously I do my best to help them out.
But the sheer volume of these emails suggests to me that we as Christian’s aren’t doing a great job equipping people to talk with God about our issues.
In fact most pastors I talk to seem to be saying the same thing.
What is a pastor?
The role of the pastor is not to be the voice of God… it’s to help people connect with God – so they can hear His voice for themselves.
I think we all need to walk the fine line of expecting God to speak through our brothers and sisters in Christ but at the same time not turning them into the voice of God.
- When you have a hard situation you are facing… who do you turn to first your pastor or to God?
- When you don’t understand a Bible verse do you turn to your pastor or to God?
- When you need prayer do you sit with God first and talk it out or do you run to a Christian and ask them to pray for you?
Now there isn’t a problem with turning to pastors and friends… don’t hear me wrong.
I’m just concerned by how many of us may have turned other people into a crutch in our relationship with God.
It’s OK to have a crutch as we learn to walk… but we should be getting better at walking over time without the crutch.
If we aren’t something is wrong!
Are you using other believers in your life as a crutch in a healthy way? One that is equipping you to walk strongly in your own relationship with God.
Or are you merely plodding along relying on their relationship with God rather than your own?
And on the flip side:
Are you discipling people? Helping them connect with God and have their own relationship.
Or have you inadvertently become a mediator between God and man?