Young Pastor Dan had been serving in his new church less than 3 years when he found himself feeling very weary. A pastorâ€™s life is full of emotional ups and downs; he knew that. But in a single weekend he had presided over a 10AM Saturday funeral for a church founder and celebrated the birth of a first child with a family on Sunday afternoon â€“ only to be called away by frantic parents at the hospital. They were in ER with a child having seizures. Monday morning he was questioning whether he had what it takes to be a pastor. So he called his old youth pastor, Marc, now in his 50s and an experienced shepherd of his own flock. Marc had been the first one Dan told of His call to ministry as a teen and had been a sounding board in recent years.
Marc heard the burden in Danâ€™s voice and, after a warm greeting, Â just listened for awhile.
â€œIâ€™ve been shepherding this flock the best I know how — counseling crumbling marriages, meeting with people looking for spiritual answers and encouraging my team of Sunday School teachers in their work. Of course Iâ€™ve been studying my Bible, diligently preparing for sermons and finding time for prayer, but thereâ€™s just not enough of me to go around. Iâ€™m really questioning whether Iâ€™m cut out for this,â€ Dan confided.
The wise pastor answered gently, â€œWell, Dan, youâ€™ve got that right. There isnâ€™t enough of you to do everything, but there is enough of God. Sounds like youâ€™re seeing yourself as a vending machine for your church, dispensing comfort to this one, healed relationships to another and so on. Thatâ€™s not your job as a pastor. It’s not even our jobs as Christians. Weâ€™re not the source of healing and answers, just directional signs to point people to the true source â€“ Jesus Christ. Iâ€™m glad youâ€™re clinging to your personal prayer time; some young guys actually let that slip and thatâ€™s really a recipe for disaster. But put yourself in the right frame of mind when you minister, counsel and pray â€“ especially for your church members. We are the cripplesâ€™ friends.â€
â€œWhat do you mean?â€ questioned Dan.
â€œRemember the crippled man in Capernaum? His friends had faith that if they just got him to Jesus, then Jesus would heal him, but when they got to the house where Jesus was teaching it was packed. There was no way in so they went up. I wrote that in my Bible by that story — when things are impossible, look up. The friends lifted his mat up on the roof, tore a hole in the roof and lowered their friend down right in front of Jesus. The friends got the cripple to Jesus and He healed Him, not them. In your prayer and counseling, donâ€™t carry the burden of healing and transforming people yourself. Thatâ€™s the Holy Spiritâ€™s work.Â We just carry the sick to Jesus. When I pray and prepare to counsel people, I often envision that picture of the friends lowering the cripple through the roof before Jesus â€“ and I find I carry people to Him best when Iâ€™m on my knees.â€
A verse to ponder:
When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. Â When Jesus saw their faith, he said, â€œFriend, your sins are forgiven.â€ Â (Luke 5:19-20)
And if you want to read the whole amazing story from Mark 2:1-12 (The Holy Bible, NIV, 1984, Zondervan)…
Jesus Heals a Paralytic
1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on. 5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, â€œSon, your sins are forgiven.â€
6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 â€œWhy does this fellow talk like that? Heâ€™s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?â€
8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, â€œWhy are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, â€˜Your sins are forgiven,â€™ or to say, â€˜Get up, take your mat and walkâ€™? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sinsâ€¦â€ He said to the paralytic, 11 â€œI tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.â€ 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, â€œWe have never seen anything like this!â€
Get on your knees – and God will amaze you.