Friday, February 23, 2007

Why being a pastor is not my most important job

If you have spent very much time with me at all, you know some of my priorities. One of those is learning what God has put you on earth to do, and then making sure that you do it. I think that there is at least one thing that every person is called to do. For me there is more than one. (There is probably more than one for you too.) God has called me to be a pastor. As a consequence of that I am supposed to teach the Bible, renew worship and raise up leaders. You have heard all of these things from me before. But long before I was called to be a Pastor, I had another calling, one that I believe to be more important.
I am called to be a husband to Shannon and a father to Molly. I remember telling someone when I was a child that I wanted to be a daddy when I grew up. I am sure that part of this was because I thought- and still think- that my Dad is pretty cool. But I think that it is deeper than that. God was calling me to be a father. Now, I believe that the only way I can be a good and godly father is in the context of a godly marriage. That means that I must be a husband to be a father. Therefore, my most important job is to be a husband and father.
Look at it this way, if I cannot be a good father, how can I be a good Pastor. If I cannot be faithful and loving to my wife, how can I in good conscience be faithful and loving to the church, the Bride of Christ? But more importantly, I believe that if I were not a pastor, if I were not involved in vocational ministry, my most important commitment is to my family. To this end, I try to always make it clear to my congregation that my family comes first. I will love the church. I will serve the church. I will give the church all my energy and commitment, but I will not lose my family for it. That would not be God’s will for my life, or anyone’s for that matter.
The great thing about this calling is that my fatherhood and my family do not have to be limited. Wherever I have lived and ministered there have been young people who have become ‘my kids.’ They are not the same as Molly to me, but they are very important. Whether they know it or not, I have become like a father to them. In fact, most of these persons would probably acknowledge me as at least a spiritual father. And even today my family is growing.
Several years ago God led me to a verse that has become my ‘life verse.’ Acts 21.9 is easy to overlook. I don’t know how many times I read it before it hit me. The passage refers to Philip the Evangelist. Verse 9 says that Philip ‘had four virgin daughters who prophesied.’ That is my calling, my most important job. I am to be a father to people who desire to live holy and missional lives. Are you one of those people? More importantly, have you found what God has as your most important job?

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