July 2011 – Week 3

Meditation for the Week of July 17, 2011
Calling People
There is a popular belief that there are two times in a person’s life when the events of his or her life pass by in rapid succession. At the altar of marriage, one wonders what he is getting herself or himself into and at the moment of death, one wonders once more what he has gotten himself into! But there is a third time for some people- for those people who are called by God to become pastors.
Pastors exist only because Christ Himself in the days of His flesh saw the need for special disciples. He spoke several times to His 12 close associates regarding the work of what has developed through the Christian era as the office of the ministry.
Matthew records this incident: “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to the disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:36-38). This was really what got the ministry of pastors started.
When Jesus looked at people, He instantly knew that they needed to know the compassion of the love of God… a vast and deep compassion, but not a patronizing compassion, for compassion is more than merely feeling somebody else’s trouble or pain with them. It is lifting a banner above pain, guiding them to lift their sights to the God who is the Lord over all… including, most of all, the emptiness of life without Him. And Jesus knew that the harvest of human souls was ready for the reaping, that they were ready to hear the message of the Kingdom of God. “Pray earnestly,” He said, “to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Given that the pastor has to claw and scratch for time to prepare for the opportunity to let God speak through the sermon, do you know how it hurts pastors’ hearts that so many in the flock of God are so careless about coming to be fed in this way, so casual about hearing God’s Word in the gathered worshiping community of faith?… For, no matter who the pastor is, it is God who is speaking to His faithful when the sermon is preached. No matter whom it is. No matter what is said. No matter how it is said. No matter what the circumstances. No matter who the preaching pastor is, it is God speaking to the faithful of Christ’s Church when the sermon is preached; and it is the faithful listening who respond, in whatever way.
And the faithful are those who warm the pastor’s heart, for they are those who come to the gathered worshiping community every time the opening song signals the beginning of worship. How are we to respond to God’s Word preached and taught faithfully? Jesus said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11: 28). Daily listen to God speak to you when you read and study and meditate on God’s Word. Then talk to God all day long.
Our Weekly Prayer Please consider praying this prayer as part of your daily prayers.
Lord of the Harvest; send out more full-time church workers into the harvest field to reap the harvest. Move us to daily read study and meditate on Your Word and talk to You all day long. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

The weekly worship services conducted by Lutheran Pastors and coordinated through Faith, Hope and Peace Ministries (a 501(c)3 organization as recognized the Internal Revenue Service) are provided at no cost to the attendees or the hosting facilities. Contributions to support this ongoing ministry may be made to “Faith, Hope and Peace Ministries” and sent to: 306 Arlington Road, Itasca, IL. 60143.

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