#DailyDevotion Your Pastor Works Compelled By Christ, But Thank Him Anyway
1 Thess. 2 You know, my fellow Christians, our coming to you wasn’t a waste of time. 2We had suffered and been shamefully mistreated in Philippi, as you know. But our God gave us the courage to tell you God’s good news though it meant a hard struggle. 3Our appeal isn’t based on error or an unclean desire, and we aren’t tricking you. No, we have God’s approval to be entrusted with the good news. 4And so we tell it, not to please people but God, Who tests our hearts. 5We never flattered, as you know, or found excuses to make money, as God knows, nor did we try to get you or other people to praise us, although we can claim respect as apostles of Christ.
Being a pastor of Christ and even a disciple of Christ is not always easy in the world. Paul as an apostles of Christ knew this well. He recalls to them how he was treated at Philippi for preaching the good news there before going on to them at Thessalonica. Yet Paul and us are not to rely upon our own strength when being a witness for Christ Jesus. God gives us the courage to speak how Jesus Christ is the LORD, the Son of God, born in the flesh to redeem us from our sins and to save us from death and the wrath of God. Nevertheless, Paul spoke to Thessalonians the good news of Jesus having been mistreated in Philippi. The love of Christ compelled him to speak and try to save as many as he could.
Paul and company weren’t out trying to deceive the people with an error or unclean desire or to trick them. They weren’t preaching to get their money for their own pleasure. They weren’t preaching to get the approval of men. Having been called by Jesus immediately and then later sent by the Church of Jesus to witness to Jesus they had God’s approval to be entrusted with the good news. In the same way, our pastors who have been called through the Church also have God’s approval to preach the good news. They are called to preach Jesus not to please people but to please God. As such, they are to preach just what God had given them to preach, repentance and forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus Christ. When they do so, we need not test their hearts for God will test them to see if they are genuine.
Paul and his company didn’t flatter the Thessalonians or find excuses to make money from them. He wanted the Gospel to be a free gift to them as indeed it is. Yet the apostle did leave directions to care for the pastors he would put in place there to take care of the people. Pastors too should not flatter their members just to get their praise in return or just for money (though that is certainly due, a worker is worth his wages). No, it is the compelling of the Holy Spirit given them in their ordination and installation which moves them to speak the good news our sins are forgiven us, death has been conquered by Christ, eternal life is freely given in baptism for Jesus’ sake, and the kingdom of heaven is our inheritance through faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul did not need the praise of men though by his office as an apostle he could command their respect. Your pastor doesn’t need your praise either but a thank you for the work he does among you or if some good was worked in your through his preaching or teaching to share that with him can be very encouraging. He also by his office deserves your respect and such respect should be given to him for Jesus sake.
Heavenly Father, continually give us men to preach to us the good news of Jesus and to give us his sacraments so faith may be created in us, sustained and strengthened so in the end we are saved and enter into his kingdom. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.