There are famous pastors and then there are the pastors I have known: Pastor George, Dad, Father Michael, Father Richard and so many other good souls. They are faithful, work hard, and do not abuse the trust they are given. They are stars in the Lord’s hand and they would comfort you as they do me if their true light were not obscured by the glare of celebrity Christians.
We must be careful, because though the stars are built to shine for all our lives and the lives of all human history, the earthbound false stars, celebrities, are very dim, but close. They do not have any meaningful fraction of the candlepower of the true stars, but they burn to catch our eye in our neighborhood. They look like suns when they are merely spotlights pointed at the leader.
Follow the Star to Jesus.
I saw my dad go to visit hurting people in the hospital when he was tired. He would not lie, compromise, or fudge the truth in order to win favor or promotion. Father Michael, of blessed memory, cared for us with all his strength right to the moment of his death. As rude men persecuted his flock, he was strong and buffered the blows he could. God has given him his reward. Pastor George was willing to work with Hope and me when we were at the lowest point of our marriage. He gave us good advice, love, and financial help. While some “charities” sent us canned asparagus (and that is hard for baby to eat!), he made sure our needs were met when we could not meet them ourselves. When we finally found work, he asked for nothing. God bless him. His light shines right now in my mind.
Father Richard visits our kids as they go to college. He calls to follow up on our needs when he knows we have been sick. When tropical storm Harvey hurt so many in Houston, Father made sure the church was there to help. Always Father Richard is learning, sharing from his life, and heart. He acts with integrity.
I could name ten more good ministers, but let me pause and say: “When a man who cannot write, hires a ghost, we miss the true writers for the name. When the failed pastor takes no time off under good mentoring, then we miss the less flashy folk that continue to shine in our communities.” Here is a fact of church life: they are not a business, but a ministry and so the size of the church has little correlation with value of the pastoral care. Big can be awesome or awful, while small means the glory has departed that place or us.
We have chosen… poorly.
The good news is that the good pastor’s light is not dimmed, we just are missing that glow. The light of the true pastor is untouchable by those who plot and plan on Earth, because their heart is in the High Heavens. No celebrity is indispensable to the Kingdom.
The prodigal sons must be allowed to return home, thank God, I was allowed to do so. The older brother should rejoice in this great good act of Father, but we have twisted the story to the point that now the prodigal comes home and demands more inheritance. Father tells the older brother in the story of Jesus’ that all the Father has belongs to the faithful son. The prodigal is back, but the money he squandered is gone. The Father will not take from the faithful son to make up the money the younger brother wasted.
Sadly, we ignore the faithful pastor and take from him what he has been given by God to swell once again the purse of the prodigal. Whatever benefits we receive in the short term, we lose by failing to let true lights shine.
Find the person of integrity, intellect, and inspiration and find the True Light.