What’s Good for the Goose…

December 22nd, 2013 Post by

A goose

Last week, I had to do one of the most humiliating things a pastor has to do. At least I found it that way. After months of reminding parishioners to let us know whenever the church needs to pray for them or for someone close to them — I had to add my name to the congregation’s prayer list. It was for a minor surgery that would cause me to miss the Divine Service one weekend and a couple of days thereafter; the Lord provided skilled physicians and everything went flawlessly. But talk about humbling!

Part of my God-given job is to pray for others. God has promised to hear my prayers and the prayers of all the faithful in Christ and to answer according to His good and gracious will. “[We] know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose,” Paul writes (Romans 8:28), and we Christians actually believe that. But for the pastor to request the congregation to pray for him is to acknowledge that he lives out the same sort of existence as the rest of the parish. His body fails, as do their bodies. His life has trouble, as do their lives. He is helpless to stop the curse of sin on his own, as are they. He’s not the mystic guru who has figured it all out and parcels out his wisdom to a crowd of starry-eyed groupies. He may be learned in Scripture and the Confessions (and he’d better be!), but even that knowledge only came by the Holy Spirit’s work. He’s just as fallen as they are, he’s just as frail as they are, he’s just as human as they are, he needs prayer just as must as they do. And in that one act, in adding his name to the list of shut-ins, the terminal patients, the lonely and troubled, the suffering friends and acquaintances of the saints of the congregation — he publicly acknowledges that whatever good he does is only God’s doing. The church together joins their “amen” to the prayers for all the saints, where his name is listed among those needing God’s mercy.

The pastor is no superman, and Christians know this. They sometimes listen to sermons that don’t seem to make the point very clearly. They sometimes watch him fumble through answers in Bible class. Sometimes they see the effect of a hectic schedule on his sanity. But hopefully what Christians also see is a man sent there by God, who is also like them. He needs their prayers, as do other people. He lives only at the mercy of a loving God, as does everyone. He repents of his sins and receives forgiveness, as do all the faithful. He needs the Son of God born into this world to redeem him from sin and death, just as everyone else does. He needs the grace of Jesus Christ to sustain him, and without such grace, he would be nothing, have nothing, and hope for nothing.

If you pray for your sick grandmother, or for the person at work who just received terrible news, or for your own struggles, pray also for your pastor. Pray that the Lord would keep him safe and healthy. Pray that the Lord would keep him faithful and courageous in proclaiming the Gospel. And pray that the Lord would also from time to time keep him humble.


Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,




Rules for comments on this site:


Engage the contents and substance of the post. Rabbit trails and side issues do not help the discussion of the topics.  Our authors work hard to write these articles and it is a disservice to them to distract from the topic at hand.  If you have a topic you think is important to have an article or discussion on, we invite you to submit a request through the "Ask a Pastor" link or submit a guest article.


Provide a valid email address. If you’re unwilling to do this, we are unwilling to let you comment.


Provide at least your first name. Please try to come up with a unique name; if you have a common name add something to it so you aren't confused with another user. We have several "john"'s already for example.  If you have a good reason to use a fake name, please do so but realize that the administrators of the site expect a valid email address and also reserve the right to ask you for your name privately at any time.


If you post as more than one person from the same IP address, we’ll block that address.


Do not engage in ad hominem arguments. We will delete such comments, and will not be obligated to respond to any complaints (public or private ones) about deleting your comments.


Interaction between people leaving comments ought to reflect Christian virtue, interaction that is gracious and respectful, not judging motives.  If error is to be rebuked, evidence of the error ought to be provided.


We reserve the right to identify and deal with trollish behavior as we see fit and without apology.  This may include warnings (public or private ones) or banning.

  1. Debbie Harris
    December 22nd, 2013 at 18:13 | #1

    Good post – made me think of my son Jason who had a fire two weeks ago – that took everything he and his wife owned, even one of their pets. In the past two weeks he has had to accept gifts, food, cash and many, many offers of prayer. I was talking with him a few days ago and he spoke of how very humbling this has been! While is was difficult for him to be the one in need, it was also a wonderful time to have his congregation be the ones helping the him, their pastor!

    I know that in our church, we have a group of ladies who pray regularly for our pastor. My own practice is to stop singing during the last verse of the hymn before the sermon and pray especially for him as he kneels at the altar and then readies himself to climb into the pulpit.

    Glad your surgery went well Pr Hinton :)

  2. helen
    December 23rd, 2013 at 11:05 | #2

    Last week, I had to do one of the most humiliating things a pastor has to do. At least I found it that way. After months of reminding parishioners to let us know whenever the church needs to pray for them or for someone close to them — I had to add my name to the congregation’s prayer list. –Pr. H

    If you find it “humiliating” to have your name on the church’s prayer list, do you think others should feel the same way about placing their names on it? (Many of them do, which is why the pastor is the last to know when they are ill or in trouble.)

    Sick or well, the pastor needs prayers as much as anyone, perhaps more, and should welcome them year around. A Pastor once said to me, “the people expect a blessing but it doesn’t occur to them that pastors also need a blessing from time to time.”
    I have not forgotten that. Sometimes mine are open ended, “if you need it, make it yours”.

    God bless!

If you have problems commenting on this site, or need to change a comment after it has been posted on the site, please contact us. For help with getting your comment formatted, click here.
Subscribe to comments feed  ..  Subscribe to comments feed for this post
Anonymous comments are welcome on this board, but we do require a valid email address so the admins can verify who you are. Please try to come up with a unique name; if you have a common name add something to it so you aren't confused with another user. We have several "john"'s already for example. Email addresses are kept private on this site, and only available to the site admins. Comments posted without a valid email address may not be published. Want an icon to identify your comment? See this page to see how.
*

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.