Wednesday, December 8, 2010

FW: A Bit of Advice for Pastors (and Anyone)

A reading recommendation…


Feed: Confessional Gadfly
Posted on: Wednesday, December 08, 2010 4:48 AM
Author: Rev. Eric J Brown
Subject: A Bit of Advice for Pastors (and Anyone)


This morning I would like to direct people to perhaps the best book ever written on Pastoral Practice - Ignatius' Letter to Polycarp Polycarp was a young bishop, Ignatius an old one on the way to martyrdom - and Ignatius instructs him. Read the whole thing. However, just a quick comment on a line or two.

First, "Bear with all, even as the Lord does with you."

This is a brilliant piece of advice - not only to pastors, but to all. Bear with all - not because if you do so you will be such a good person, not because you HAVE to - but simply because of this. You understand that the Lord has shown you much patience and mercy.

Everything in the Church flows from the Gospel - it is from our understanding that we too are sinners who have be forgiven much that we approach people. That is how we can approach them in mercy. The same mercy that I have received, let me be an instrument in showing it. The same love and forgiveness that I have received, let me be an instrument in proclaiming it.

Second, "Stand firm, as does an anvil which is beaten. It is the part of a noble athlete to be wounded, and yet to conquer. And especially, we ought to bear all things for the sake of God, that He also may bear with us"

I prefer the translation "It is the mark of a great athlete to be bruised yet still conquer". However, this gets to the point. In your life - be you a Pastor or a laymen, you will be bruised, battered, insulted, mocked, and will have people unleash all sorts of ire against you.

In this - be as an anvil. Bear the strikes without striking back. Show love, show mercy. And do not think that the rants that people launch at you are a sign of your failure. If you proclaim the Gospel, if you put the focus upon Christ, it will happen. Do not let the focus become your feelings, your wounds, your desire to strike back as you have been struck -- you aren't a sword to lash back and cause wounds to those who would strike you. You are an anvil. People will be struck against you - stand firm that they might be shaped into useful tools for the kingdom of God.

It's a great read - I highly recommend it.

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