Seeing Jesus

"Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks.  So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

—John 12:20-21

Pastors and church leaders often feel pressure to live up to some level of artificial expectations. After years of declining worship attendance, the veteran pastor feels that he has to do something to change downward spiral.  The elders discuss how their church can compete with the new non-denominational church that sprung up in their town. The young pastor worries about being compared to his beloved predecessor. How we often we are motivated by the pressure to live up to people’s expectations that are usually based on earthly and human standards.
Congregations and its leaders are not called to impress people. Our Lord has not chosen us to entertain people or beat back the competition. Those who make up the Church (those called out of the darkness of sin and unbelief and into the light of faith in Christ) are called to be faithful. Many pulpits across Missouri have the above verses inscribed on a small plaque as a reminder to the preacher of what he is there to do. Our congregations do not need saviors, because that job is taken. Our congregations need pastors and lay leaders who first see and hear Jesus themselves and then understand that it is the role of the congregation to give Jesus to their members and then seek to reach even more people, such as those Greeks who troubled Philip.

The primary responsibility of a pastor is to give his congregation Jesus, from the pulpit, at the baptismal font, at the communion rail, at the hospital bedside, and at the funeral home. Likewise, church leaders understand their roles are not to just form committees to talk about helping people to see Jesus (Philip starts by consulting with Andrew), but actually bringing Christ to your community. Parents also have the responsibility of giving Christ to their children, not abdicating that role to a school teacher or youth leader.

However, there are definitely times when you, as leaders in the Church, need to see Jesus. What a comfort and blessing it is to see that Jesus is for you so that your sins are forgiven and you are reconciled to God. It is only in seeing Jesus’ mercy and love you for you that you are enabled to bring Jesus to others. We can help people see Jesus because we know what it means to be redeemed by His precious blood.

Dear friends, please do not feel burdened by the law of expectations. Rather rejoice that with the eyes of faith that you have seen Jesus and that His love moves you to help others see Him as well. May those we serve see Jesus as we work and speak in our daily callings!

Prayer – Heavenly Father, grant Your mercy and grace to Your people in their many and various callings. Give them patience, and strengthen them in their Christian vocation of witness to the world and of service to their neighbor in Christ’s name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Fraternally in Christ,

President Lee Hagan

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