I woke this morning with words of prayer on my mouth. Not prayers for me or prayers for my friends, but prayers for my pastors. I go to a large church with many pastors and their job is difficult. They shepherd, lead, teach, preach, train, study, repent, and live very publicly. Our leadership works hard to keep our church from being celebrity driven in a Christian culture that feeds on celebrity, but to whom much is given, much is required. One thing required of our leaders is their lives are in the public eye. A friend once told me, "I hope someday you love Jesus as much as you love the Church," and I haven't stopped thinking about it since. I disagree with him most days because I think I love Jesus more than I love the Church. Sometimes I agree with him though, because sometimes it's easier to talk about loving the tangible church than it is to talk about loving a somewhat intangible savior. But most of the time I'm scratching my head wondering why he even said it.
I love the Church because I love Jesus. Loving the Church, the local church, the men in leadership over me, and the people who make up this body is the natural overflow of loving Jesus—loving what He loves.
Brothers and sisters, love the church. I know that isn't always easy, but the thing that makes it easiest for me is to first love my pastors.
Love the church by loving your pastors. If you struggle to love them, pray for them.
Your life is wrought with struggle, pain, study, leadership, discipleship, doubt, fear—many of the same things your pastors deal with, but think of how different your leadership would be if you knew you had people who were actively praying for you? When I remember that Jesus intercedes for me, it's a game changer. When I know one of you is praying for me, it puts flesh on that intangible intercession of Jesus.
Jesus is pleading on behalf of pastors everywhere. Emulate Him.
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 21:31-32