Lately, I’ve been reading On Pastoring by H.B. Charles, Jr. a few minutes each day. It has short, powerful and incisive chapters that are perfect for quick reads while waiting for other things to complete. In any case, the following from yesterday caught my attention:
A new pastor began his ministry with the key leaders of the church board. The church board members introduced themselves and told the new pastor about their area of ministry. Each department leader proceeded to tell him what was expected of him, stressing the importance of their department, and making it clear that the kingdom of heaven was at hand only if the pastor devoted his chief energy to that department. The long series of speeches and the tension-filled atmosphere made it impossible for him to give a detailed reply to all he heard. So when the series of priority-shaping speeches finally ended, the pastor stood up and said, “Thank you for your advice. I will try to please you all, but I shall try most of all to please God.” He then prayed and ended the meeting.
This is what it means to guard the bank. Do not allow yourself to be distracted by secondary things. Do not use your strength to climb a ladder that is leaning against the wrong wall. Do not spend your energy running in different directions at the same time to please people. Focus on the things that spread the gospel, build up the saints, and glorify the Lord.On Pastoring, p.67
He goes from there to looking at Acts 20:28-31, reflecting on Paul’s own attitude along these same lines. It is just so easy to get caught up in “good” things, and allow the main things – the bank – to get robbed. The attempt to please everybody, especially, tends towards distraction, and ultimately, failure to accomplish the task actually before us. Pleasing our Lord Jesus comes first in the task of pastoring, as it does in any other endeavor. It is no wonder our church articulates “Treasuring Jesus Christ” as our first mission!
And with that in mind, pray for me that I will be focused and diligent with the things God has put in front of me. I pray you too will treasure Jesus Christ today, and serve him first and most.