Thanks to the posting of this article on google+ by Rev. Anthony R. Voltattorni on his blog We are All Beggers. We previously posted articles by him on An Introduction to Advent & Christmastime and How to Appreciate your Pastor.
Yesterday I had the privilege of preaching at Lutheran High North, Macomb MI. It was a great school to visit and they did a wonderful job making me feel welcome. LHN is a blessing to our synod and I encourage all Pastors to preach chapel when asked in order to support our Lutheran Schools and the youth of our Lutheran Church.
I also had the opportunity while I was there to speak to youth who were thinking of going into the ministry. What a joy that was! I was able to give them some of the same advice given to me. But more than that, I was able to give them something I wasn’t. Something of which I use to be very confused. Something I wish someone would have written across a two-by-four and hit me up the side of the head with.
That being a Pastor is not about your skills or abilities.
When I was young, despite many Pastors prodding me into the ministry, I was beset with self doubt, continually telling myself “You’re not good enough to be a Pastor.”
However, the beauty of the ministry is that I was right. I’m not good enough, but Christ is!
So many young Pastors are conned into thinking that they should be able to bring something extraordinary to the Church. Creativity, Enthusiasm, Dynamics, High-Energy, Engaging Speech. Skills and abilities.
But when it matters most, what can any one man bring? What does he add to the ministry of Christ? Which of his skills does he bring out for the rape victim or the terminally ill? What does he have to give to the sobbing wife and children gathered around their dying husband and father? It is then that the young Pastor will see that his skills and abilities are hevel, vanity, futility, vapor.
Yet, as one who stands in the place of Jesus for the people, as one who bears the office of Christ, acting as the mouthpiece of our Lord, that pastor is able to give something greater than the wealth of this world no matter how young or inexperienced he may be. He brings the Word of God. He offers the hope of the resurrection. He delivers the fullness of the forgiveness of sins, salvation, life everlasting. The comforting absolution of the Gospel is placed into his hands in Word and in Sacrament so that he might deliver them to the people.
It’s not about his skill or abilities, it’s not about what the Pastor can bring to the table, or what he can do, it’s about what Christ has done and continues to do through him in Word and Sacrament.
It’s no secret that we need more Pastors in our synod (only 16 percent are under the age of 40), so we continue to seek and beg youth to go into the ministry. But maybe if we preached the office of Christ more often, we wouldn’t have to.