Monday, November 12, 2007

The Authoritative Nature of the Office

In the first year of serving as a pastor, I served a congregation in which a very cute little girl was a member with her family. She was full of energy and excitement. She was very outgoing and friendly and talkative.

One day as she came bouncing into the room, I exclaimed, “Here comes Bashful!”

Some time later it was reported to me that on another occasion a person made the comment, “Boy! She isn’t bashful at all!”

Hearing this she immediately responded, “Oh yes I am! Pasture said so!”

Interesting how she was not able to distinguish between the safe pasture and the pastor or the pasturing one. But to those who acknowledge the pastor as the one who speaks for God, the pastor’s word is to be believed, even when he is teasing or making a joke.

Another time, when going to visit with a family, a little girl answered my knock on the door and turned from the doorway, running through the house exclaiming, “Jesus is here! Jesus is here!”

To me this has long manifested the great seriousness with which I must always treat the office that the Lord has ordained me to serve. Every word that I speak and every action that I do is observed by those who know that I am an ordained servant of the Word. There is never a time that the office stops being Christ’s office, and there is never a time that I am not an ambassador of Christ.

Christ’s little ones, regardless of age and size, are always listening and watching. Every word and every action has impact. A careless word or a careless action can have everlasting impact.

How much more so must I treat the “official acts” of the office! What pastor can afford to be careless in sermon preparation? Every word is received as from the Lord. And what of the administration of the Word in the Sacrament? Surely this is as serious and important as anything can ever be!

Yet such seemingly overbearing responsibility is not a burden, but a joy. For with the responsibility is great reward, for with the preaching office is also the immeasurable power of salvation. God uses His office and the men who fill it to proclaim the good news of the Gospel of Christ crucified. Through His office and through the men who fill it, God baptizes His little ones back into His kingdom of grace and life and maintains His Holy Communion for the safety of His dear children on earth, keeping them safe in His mercy and love all the days of their lives and even forevermore. Truly this is serious cause for rejoicing always, and again I say: Rejoice!

No comments: