We can be a pastor by looking at individuals, not crowds. We can also remember we don’t need to worry about saying the right words. The third way to be a pastor is to value Silence. Merely showing up when crisis strikes qualifies us. Letting people know we care by being there.
After all, silence is also a gift. John Adams esteemed George Washington’s silence as one of his greatest gifts. It highlighted what words he did speak.
More than a few compulsive talkers speak because silence makes them uncomfortable with themselves. Only by speaking do they recover any self-esteem. We will always more often regret hasty words than repent of silence.
Different from every other task, which demands specific skills and education, being a Christian pastor doesn’t demand training or memorizing ten rules. It demands only an experience with Jesus we can share with another. A willingness to express the mercy to others Jesus offers us. To do for them what he’s done for us. That’s why a hug, a handshake, a heartfelt, “I’m sorry, my sympathy to you” is pastoral and Christ-like.
One of our members works in a medical facility. She saw a young woman leave the doctor’s office in tears. She immediately left her desk and escorted the lady to her car. She instinctively hugged the woman and kissed her on the cheek.
I texted her, thanking her for being a Christian Pastor to that woman. Our member didn’t consider it unusual since she’s always been sensitive to people in need. We can create our awareness of other peoples’ needs by remembering how sensitive Jesus is to ours. And, as he said in another context, we then should go and do likewise. –Fini-
Four scriptures in the first blog proved Salome a pastor of God’s people. The question we face is how to translate her nature into everyday discipleship?
First, by looking at individuals, not crowds. We can’t help everybody; we can help someone in particular. A lot of people came to the Cross to see a spectacle. More than a few came to identify with a Person. The difference between spectacle and person being CARE shown. The crowd had the energy to beat their breasts—perhaps in anguish and grief—that someone so good had been crucified. While those who loved that Man, who believed in him as God’s Son, felt obliterated, no energy left, no more tears to cry, no hope available to cheer them. What they witnessed only bent their shoulders beneath a burden too heavy to carry and hung their heads in a despair they never expected to have lifted.
In 1998 an Army Major drove into Washington D.C. during morning rush from Alexandria, Virginia. He saw an overturned van and a crumpled, bloody body, partly on the highway. He stood by her side 45 minutes before help arrived, while traffic whizzed by, windows down, insults and obscenities hurled for creating a traffic jam. He forgot the crowd by thinking of the person. San Diego U-T, 4/23/98
Disaster can harden people: like those hurrying to get to their jobs in D.C. while an unfortunate woman lay at roadside critically injured. As we experienced Sunday, August 5, 2018, when Hwy. 78 was closed 14 hours due to a three-car accident. We figured our inconvenience didn’t equal the loss the family of the deceased 33 year old woman suffered.
The sight of problems can become so commonplace we lose concern for the person involved. Teddy Roosevelt had high blood pressure that led to easy bleeding. His family grew calloused to it. One day he cut his scalp on a farm windmill and hurried into the house to have it dressed. His less-than-caring wife scolded him, wanting him to do his bleeding in the bathroom, not on her rugs. Sounds just like an exasperated wife to an erring husband. American Heritage, October 1964, 83
Two, by remembering the difference between being a preacher and a writer. People instinctively fear trying to comfort the stricken because they can’t think of the right words. They needn’t worry. Writers consider words as precious gems they string together into beautiful necklaces. Pastors know that words are sometimes unnecessary and irrelevant. They’re clumsy, not clever. –End Part II-
The following blogs use Salome—wife of Zebedee, mother of James and John and sister of Jesus Christ’s mother—as an example of a pastoral nature.
First By Provisioning Jesus, recorded in Luke 8:2-3 and Mark 15:40-41. She and Zebedee invested their finances in the kingdom in which their sons had invested their lives.
Second, By Standing With Mary at the Cross, recorded in John 19:25-27. Mary seems to have been removed from the scene at the beginning of the crucifixion. As expected, the sight of seeing Jesus on the cross provoked uncontrolled outbursts of wailing and tears in her. That inspired a friend to gently lead her away. The very response we have seen repeatedly when disaster strikes: the one most traumatized is removed from the scene.
By putting Mary under John’s care, Jesus completely separated himself from all earthly concerns and relationships. Indeed, from that moment on, Mary would refer to Jesus as her Savior and as her Lord, but never again as her son. He would never again be brother or son to anyone, but always and only Savior, Lord and God!
Third, By Staying at the Cross to the Bitter End, recorded in Mark 15:40-41. From 9 AM to 3 PM the faithful women stood near the cross. They watched as Joseph and Nicodemus removed the corpse, washed it, wrapped it in linen, enfolding 75 pounds of spices inside. They followed as servants carried the Master’s bier to the private garden. They gazed while the body of Jesus was carried into the tomb, then enclosed by the stone.
Fourth, By Being First at the Tomb on Sunday. The women brought their spices to anoint the Lord’s body. In one of the great “hadn’t thought of that” moments, they wondered how the tomb could be opened! God solved the question by opening the tomb himself.
That led to the women seeing the men—angels—inside who ordered them to tell the disciples that Jesus had risen. Which they didn’t at first; the sheer impossibility of their experience choked their testimony. –End Part I-