Read Acts 5:1-11
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT).
Leading a church as a pastor is no easy affair. Don’t get me wrong, I am not here to grumble about my vocation or the the work it entails. Quite the contrary! I love the work! It fills me to serve our Lord Jesus Christ and I wouldn’t change a single aspect of it…well, most aspects anyway. Still, the proposition is still true: leading a church as a pastor is no easy affair.
Of course, by leading “a church”, I mean leading a congregation. The church is the congregation, as a matter of fact, it is NOT the building; therefore, leading a group of people (aka a congregation) is no easy task. First, people are all over the place in their spiritual journeys, as it should be; however, that means that not everyone is ready or able to be fully committed to ministry. Second, people have all sorts of perspectives and points of views (aka opinions) and that can really slow any sort of forward moving progress halt to a crawl at best.
I could go on, listing differing financial situations leading to a shortfall in giving, difficulty finding anymore than a few of the same volunteers. This isn’t just a church challenge, actually. It’s a non-profit/volunteer problem; it always has existed and it always will. So there is no point beating that proverbial “dead horse” (what an horrific phrase, actually!). The reality is that leading a church is a real challenge, albeit extrremely rewarding.
So, it should go without saying that leading a church during a global pandemic crisis makes being a pastor under normal circumstances seem like a Sunday stroll through Deer Park. There were so many ins and outs to consider, it was a logistical nightmare. In order to make worship and ministry work throughout a pandemic that literally had us locked away in our houses, we had to upgrade our equipment and purchase new eqipment as well. We had never streamed live before and we were going to need that ability. We also learned that, while in isolation, streaming live wasn’t even possible. So we had to pre-record services and schedule them to premiere on YouTube every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. That process took the entire week, and that DIDN’T include the other work I have to get done week-to-week.
What made matters worse was the fact that, no matter how hard you worked and no matter how many hours you put in, there were people who thought the pastor was on a perma-vacation. What’s more, there were the people and their partisan political positions regarding church closures, wearing masks, contact tracing and any prayer or Scripture that seemed to go against their political leanings. Of course, we weren’t interjecting politics into our services, but in such a hyper-partisan environment, some people were interpreting it that way regardless.
One of the most interesting observations I made over the last four or so years is the fact that partisanship almost always leads to hypocrisy at best. For instance, so many “Christians” are up in arms about the loss of their so-called freedom to not wear a mask. One of the biggest arguments thrown out in anger at politicians, community leaders, educators and pastors (no doubt) alike, was the following: “I am not wearing a mask because I have faith in God! If it’s my time to go, it’s my time to go! I am ready.”
Of course, that’s easier said when you are healthy and feeling invincible and, truth be told, we can tell that such an argument is nothing more than hot air based off of another similar…but different…argument. In fighting for their “second amendment rights”, these conservative-leaning, evangelical Christians will argue that the consitution gave every man, woman, child a right to defend themselves against wicked people.
Now, let’s pause here a second. Is the argument that God has the power to wipe out a wicked, nasty virus…but God is powerless against sinful, wicked muggers, gangbangers and house burglars. First, let’s be honest…this is nothing short of racially biased, being that the majority of people arguing this are not imagining white “gangbangers”, are they? Second, is this not a huge GIGANTIC case of hypocrisy? God is cool with taking measures against violent people, but God is not cool with putting on a mask and getting vaccinated to take measures against a deadly virus. Silly, right?
Don’t get me wrong, we should put our TRUST in God; however, trusting God does not mean doubting the common sense God gave you. In other words, God gifted us intelligence to figure things like pandemics out, and God gifted scientists with the brilliance to do just that, yet we don’t trust the science those gifts produce. Trusting in God means letting go and letting God work in whatever ways God works, even if that is through science. No amount of printing “In God We Trust” on our money and license plates, will change the fac that we simply do not trust in God. Let us be challenged to avoid the pitfall of hypocrisy by avoiding putting our partisan politics before Jesus Christ.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.” – Corrie Ten Boom
Lord, help me to TRULY put my TRUST in YOU. Amen.
 Kierkegaard, Søren. Concluding Unscientific Postscript on the Philosophical Fragments. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), https://antilogicalism.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/concluding-unsci-post.pdf.