By Allen White
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Matthew 23:1-4
Over the years, I’ve known quite a number of pastors. Some whose churches I attended. Some I worked for. And, hundreds I’ve consulted with and coached over the years. While I’ve never met a pastor who was quite as despicable as the Pharisees, not one of them was perfect either.
Pastors are people. They are not cut from a different clothe. They just have a different calling from the rest. Most are sincere, godly people. Many are broken and complex. All of them are sinful and weak, just like everybody else.
I learned early on in ministry to look at Jesus as my example, because people will always disappoint you. Even good people have bad days.
I’ve often wondered why God doesn’t call better people. Even when you look in the Bible, Abraham lied. Moses murdered. David, well, you know David. Can’t God do better than this?
The reality is all God has to work with are sinful, fallen people who depend on His grace to survive spiritually. God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called, which is a good thing, because I’m one of those pastor people too.
While the Pharisees didn’t apply the truth of God’s Word to their lives, they taught the truth of God’s Word. Jesus instructed people to hear the truth of God’s Word and follow the teaching, but not to follow their example.
Now, I’m not trying to set up some sort of moral loophole for pastors who have lost all credibility. The Pharisees were not highly regarded, but God’s Word should always be highly regarded. While it is difficult to follow a leader who doesn’t allow God’s Word to transform his life, it’s not impossible to be transformed yourself.
Every one of us, pastor or not, has areas of our lives we need to continually surrender to God. We have broken places that need healing. We have sinned and need to seek forgiveness from God and others.
But, we all have the truth of God’s Word. Rather than getting caught up in following a personality or depending on someone else’s spirituality, we need to hear the truth of God’s Word regardless of who’s communicating it.
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