First off, I’m NOT assuming that I will eventually be a pastor of a Church. This letter is merely written if I ever become one by God’s will and miracle. This letter is actually more for me more than anyone else. To remind me of who I am and to never forget this wherever this path of obedience lead. And never be complacent or pride-filled, but to be encouraged during hardship, like it is now.
I am writing to you in hopes that you can know a little more about me. There are a few things I’d like you to see about me that you may not know or think about when you see me every Sunday at Church. So here goes…
The first thing I’d like you to know is that I am sinful too. I am a sinner in the middle of my sanctification journey. The same way you are. There is only one shepherd. As it is written...
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me,”
John 10:11-14, ESV
No, really… I feel the same sins of the flesh. Pride, anger, sloth, lust, etc… I might get annoyed with you when I think you should know better. I might feel proud because I know the bible more than you. I sometimes lose my temper too! I shout at the kids when they don’t listen to me. Or bark at my family when I’m in a bad mood. I procrastinate doing my sermons on a slow week when my energy levels are low.
I’d like you also to know I’m an introvert. It might surprise some of you, but my warmth and friendliness at Church and my hospitality at our house takes a lot of trained and channelled energy to pull off. But I feel and know it’s worth every bit of it. Why am I telling you this? I’m telling you because I’d like you to forgive me if I walked right past you and didn’t say “hi”. I’m sorry if I hadn’t rung you or caught up with you for a while. Please forgive me if at social functions I didn’t acknowledge you or come to greet you. I might be busy, shy or low on my “interaction” tank.
This might be obvious to say, but I’ll say it anyway. I have feelings too. My heart aches when you tell me your troubles. My heart aches when you don’t tell me your troubles! My heart aches when I see others in trouble, persecuted, suffering or busking in sin. I’d like it if you come occasionally to ask me how I feel. Or tell me how you feel and we can pray and cry together. Knowing you care would be nice.
I pray that you will never think that just because I studied at some bible college I know everything there is to know about our Lord and the bible. Like you, I am always a servant and student of Christ. Especially me! I suck at studying… I realise that if God wills it, the Holy Spirit can zap you more wisdom and open your eyes to the scripture way more than what I can comprehend. I pray that you can approach me when I am wrong. To lovingly correct me and I promise I will try my best to receive rebuke humbly and with respect. If I don’t and I argue with you, please pray harder for my heart.
Please know that nothing I plan for the Church can compare to what God had planned for us since the beginning of time. Please know that I will fail terribly in running things compared to how Christ runs His kingdom. I am not much of a leader too, if you have Christ as your Lord. None of my plans, actions and leadership means anything, if I am not constantly sanctified by Christ through the Church. Yes, I need to be moulded too. I need to learn still! Bible College didn’t teach me everything about being the ultimate super holy Christian. Please! It is my constant prayer that I am approachable so that you can come to me with my flaws so I can learn. I am approachable!... Right? Please, how else will I learn?
It all sounds really hard doesn’t it? What’s the point of all this? I hope you see that it’s to show you that I need you as much as you need me, maybe I need more. We are all different parts of the body of Christ remember? It can sometimes get very, very, depressingly lonely on this narrow path when I am walking alone. Even a marathon can by more fun if I had others running with me, supporting me, loving me, praying with me, playing with me, hanging out with me, crying with me, laughing with me… You get the picture. Do life with me!
You know, I still secretly find encouragement sometimes thinking that God used a coward like Moses. He used a defiant man like Jonah. He used a lust-filled man like David. He used a simple-minded man like Peter. And he even used an outright enemy like Paul to do His work. There is always hope for me!
I thank God every day for his saving grace for me. I thank Jesus for fulfilling the gospel. A gospel so precious that He allowed my heart to change towards Him. To be so compelled to love and want to try my best to save others like He did me. I hang on to this truth every day, because He is my hope in my toil, my discouragements and my disappointments. I never want to lose this first love of Him. I say this never to appear holier than you, but to encourage you and pray that one day, this gospel will capture your heart the same way it did mine and transform you towards a Christ-likeness that surpasses mine!
With love always,