Sometimes those we love turn on us. This is never more true than in any form of church leadership. It never ceases to amaze me how some members of Christ’s flock are quick to accuse their pastors. I do not work for a church, but I have an immense amount of respect for those who do so. Why? Because I know some of the pain that is their lot, being involved as I am in our church’s leadership team.
These men give up a lot. They are not well paid, and for sure no one goes into local church ministry to earn a good salary. They do not get much time off. Family life is often swallowed up in work. They find it hard to just switch off. They are bombarded by people in need, and those in dire situations. They give themselves repeatedly to care for the sheep. Sometimes it is the very sheep who the pastors have done their best to help who turn on them. Wild accusations that completely disregard the care the pastor has shown them are not that uncommon.
One of the psalms leapt out at me when I read it recently. It depicts so well the scenario I am describing. It also gives us the remedy. Unable to defend themselves, the godly pastor really has only one place to go: to prayer. I love the way the psalmist simply says, “but I give myself to prayer.” If you are a struggling pastor, do find someone you can speak to about it, but first follow the psalmist’s example. The one who called you is able to sustain you, lift you, vindicate your name, and uphold your cause.If you are a member of Christ’s flock who has this tendency to bite the hand that God uses to help feed you, then please think again. Just maybe your pastor is weeping over you right now.
Be not silent, O God of my praise!
For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.
They encircle me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
In return for my love they accuse me,
but I give myself to prayer.
So they reward me evil for good,
and hatred for my love. (Psalm 109)