The Burden of Being Unneeded
I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice. Ezekiel 34:15-16
One of the traps for church workers is the false belief that God needs us to carry out His work. Pastors and other servants fool themselves into thinking that they are the only ones who are capable of carrying out a particular task or serving a particular people. This is what makes retirement so difficult for pastors. We think that we are indispensable.
One of my mentors was the eighty-two year-old chairman of the Board of Elders. He once reminded me that the congregation had been around long before I arrived and would continue on long after I would be gone. He was lovingly reminding me that none of us are indispensable. Pastors are merely undershepherds of Jesus, the Good Shepherd. Churches and schools have seen many different pastors and teachers, yet the one constant servant throughout all of the generations is Christ. He is the one who truly shepherds the flock, seeking the lost, bringing back the strays, binding the injured and strengthening the weak. These words from Scripture come as a comfort to the Church. However, they are words that convict church workers on one hand that God does not need them, but also an assurance that the Lord is still the One who is ultimately caring for His sheep.
This does not mean that pastors and church workers have nothing to do and no place to serve. Rather, it assures us that it is the Lord’s Church and there is but one Savior, Christ Jesus, the Lord. For those who serve in the Church, the Lord can carry on His work without you. Yet, God is pleased to work in and through you to be a blessing to His Church. You’re not the most valuable player, but you are God’s chosen instrument as you serve those to whom You are called to serve.
Prayer – Lord and Shepherd, in all the many things that need to be done for Your Church, grant that those entrusted with special responsibilities zeal and faithfulness to perform their tasks to the upbuilding of Your Church and the glory of Your saving name; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan