Monday, January 13, 2014

Sunday (and Monday) morning conviction- Hebrews 13:17

Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
Hebrews 13:17

I love it when God speaks clearly. Yesterday morning, I listened to a sermon preached from the pulpit of FBC Nixa, and delivered by Phil Shuford. He exhorted our congregation in the proper way to receive a pastor, helping us to be prepared for the arrival of our new Lead Pastor. This morning,
I listened to another sermon, this one being preached from the pulpit of FBC Buffalo, and delivered by Tim Haupt. It was a conclusive sermon rounding out the marks of a holy church. It was the final sermon in the 5 year tenure for Tim at Buffalo, as he has been called to be the new Lead Pastor of FBC Nixa. Each of these sermons focused some attention on this valuable verse from Hebrews.

It wasn't like I had never heard this verse before... but, as it was unpacked by each of these men these last couple of days, I was landed with a refreshed burden...

I knew, in all of our searching for a pastor, that we were searching for the man that God had prepared and called to be our shepherd. What I had not spent nearly as much time thinking about was that this man (assuming he would accept the call) would be taking upon himself the responsibility of watching over the souls of our church. I can not even begin to imagine the weight that sits upon a pastor, coming to a new church, and accepting the call to willing take responsibility to give an account for these people. He doesn't know us, he only knows that this is his calling. The shear obedience and love required to willingly shoulder this is astonishing to me. I know myself, and I wouldn't wish the account of my soul upon anyone... let alone the souls of my fellow members.

A couple of thoughts from this... First, a huge thank you to each of the pastors who have willingly shouldered the responsibility to look after the souls of your people. The calling on your life is deeper and more complex than most people will ever appreciate. Second, I need to ensure that I am placing all that I am in the grace of Christ. I need to be fully surrendered to His callings on my own life. Tim has accepted the call to watch over my soul, he deserves my submission to Christ in my life... not because of anything he has done, but because he has submitted to the calling of Christ in his own life as well.

I hope that each of us at FBC Nixa are wiling to fully surrender to the call of Christ, submitting to each of our callings into the work of Christ to advance His kingdom in our community and beyond. I hope we will take seriously the challenge of brother Phil, presented through these words from Hebrews. I am reminded of the last message that he brought to us, we cannot rest on the service we have done in the past, and assume we have done all we have been called to do... we must continue to do the work of ministry to which we are called.

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