“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (James 3, KJV)
In the New Testament itself, we get glimpses of teachers who failed in their responsibility and became false teachers. There were teachers who tried to turn Christianity into another kind of Judaism and tried to introduce circumcision and the keeping of the law (Acts 15:24). There were teachers who lived out nothing of the truth which they taught, whose lives were a contradiction of what they taught and who did nothing but bring dishonour on the faith they represented (Romans 2:17–29). There were some who tried to teach before they themselves knew anything (1 Timothy 1:6–7), and others who pandered to the false desires of the crowd (2 Timothy 4:3).
But, quite apart from the false teachers, it is James’ conviction that teaching is a dangerous occupation for anyone. The instrument of teaching is speech, and its agent is the tongue. As J. H. Ropes puts it, James is concerned to point out ‘the responsibility of teachers and the dangerous character of the instrument they have to use’.
William Barclay, The Letters of James and Peter, 3rd ed. fully rev. and updated., The New Daily Study Bible (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003), 92.
Count the cost, before you decide you wish to be a Pastor. It’s not something you should enter into lightly. CAn you do this? Should you do this? Are you called to do this?
Are these your motivations?
- I want to feel important
- I want to be respected
- I want to stand in the pulpit and be in pulpit
- I like being in charge
- I feel I’m a good leader
- I should be in a position of authority
- I don’t want a job where I have to work hard or long hours
If they are, then find a different job. Being in the ministry is not what you think it is.
Here’s that moment that any experienced pastor is going to nod. Remember that first moment someone in your congregation comes up to you after a sermon, and asks you a doctrinal question on a difficult text? Suddenly everything is in the balance. You have to answer correctly, or explain why to the Lord. Because your next words can derail someone in their walk from Christ.
That’s what it’s like to be a pastor.
EVer had the cold sewats about a sermon? How is this going to be recieved? I’ve had a pastor give me a sermon assignment, and to me that’s a bad deal. He already has something in mind of how he wants it to be – so he might as well give it himself. Several times my former pastor assigned me a text to expound, a time limit, and that’s it.
Up to you… GO.
Being a pastor is certainly not about working just an hour a week, as many in the congregation think. There was a memorable exchange on a pastor’s website where someone wrote how difficult a Pastor’s job is, and a congregant wrote in to say, “Try working a day job, and see how tough real work is”. The pastors reading it had a good laugh. Why? You have no idea.
Very often, being a pastor is around an 80 hour a week job. The pastor doesn’t work 7-3 then goes home. He’ll rolll into the church office usually about 7:35, because something went wrong and he has a crisis to fix. He’ll work in his office, and have church functions until usually 6, home for dinner, and then in many churches, there’s some prayer meeting or Bible study or church function every night of the week from 7-8:30.
That’s almost a twelve hour day. And that’s usually six days a week.
David Cloud points out that Pastors need to be people persons. They have to be willing to take phone calls all the time.
If you think it’s about being an authority figure, you can hang that up. The congregation is often convinced the Pastor is an idiot, does’nt know what he’s talking about, doesn’t know anything about anything except the Bible, and convinced he doesn’t know the Bible either.
In many pulpits, the pastor gets very little respect. The Pastor is kind of a figurehead. Southern Baptists often tend to view the Pastor as kind of hired man, whose job is to rubberstamp their decisions.
Let’s start by looking at the word Masters above.
διδάσκαλος means teacher, instructor. in the text, the tense of it is Didaskaloi. The word is commonly used of Jesus Christ, to refer to him as their teacher. You stand in the place of Jesus Christ to lead that church, to teach it, until the Lord returns.
And if He doesn’t like the way you ran it, there will be a brief discussion on why you did some things some ways.
If you think to yourself, “I could be a pastor, or a (fill in the blank)”, do the other thing.
You should only pursue the calling if you are convinced God has called you to it.