Patient with People

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

At a recent lunch, a man was trying to convince me he was called to be a pastor. I asked him if he enjoyed helping people and he told me he did as they long as they were willing to work at the problem. I told him he was probably called to be a counselor and not a pastor. I explained to him that pastors are called to walk with people whether they are on board with the process or not.

This past weekend we celebrated the resurrection and I was reminded once again that Jesus did not die on the cross because we were finally ready for him to help us. In fact, Jesus came looking for us long before we even knew we needed redemption. Jesus was working in us and around us, with great patience, even when we were less than cooperative.

The passage from Ephesians that I quoted above mentions humility, gentleness and patience, but the word that is most troublesome is the word “bearing”, which means to “endure through suffering.”  Sometimes the people we are called to love and pastor are not ready to make right choices, or to meet with us for counsel. They may not even care about the consequences of their choices. Are we then supposed to move on to the next person and discard the one who is not ready for our help?

A counselor might have every right to make that call, but a pastor cannnot. We must love them, while not enabling them. We must pray for their eyes to be opened, and stand alongside them. We should certainly not allow them to abuse us or others, but waiting and praying for God’s work to be completed in their lives is a chore and a privilege that comes with the calling of pastor.

But, for how long?

As long as it takes. Patience is simply hopeful waiting and there is no expiration date for hope. Our church is full of people who were called out of the darkness into the light. That is my story and I suspect it is your story. Somewhere in that journey, we can all point to people who did not give up on us and we are certainly thankful for Jesus who patiently pursued us.

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5 Comments

  1. Amen and Amen! That’ll preach!!!!

  2. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, Love never fails. I Cor. 13:7-8a
    Our God’s faithful love endures forever, if we are children of God, then this same love is ours to extend to others…..
    Great blog!

  3. As someone who spends time building spiritual conversation groups with not-yet-Jesus-Followers, these two parts were my favorites:

    “Jesus came looking for us long before we even knew we needed redemption. Jesus was working in us and around us, with great patience, even when we were less than cooperative.”

    And this:

    “We must love them, while not enabling them. We must pray for their eyes to be opened, and stand alongside them. We should certainly not allow them to abuse us or others, but waiting and praying for God’s work to be completed in their lives is a chore and a privilege that comes with the calling of pastor.”

    Awesome insights.
    Thanks.

  4. Stephanie Cooper

    April 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Amen and amen….I think anyone who has ever experienced “doing life” with a prodigal could relate. We will always love them, never give up on them, will aways be there for them and continually interceding for them. I think that’s how God is with us always….even if we may not be in a “prodigal” state…we all experience moments of weakness and stumble and what a comfort to know that He never gives up on ANY of us…no matter what state we may be in! And thank you , Pastor Brady for your “pastor/shepherd’s heart” to come alongside us as your “sheep” and encrourage us from your heart today! Blessings, Stephanie Cooper

  5. This is some of the best advice ive heard for a Pastor. It is such a dilemma: Provoking the desire to grow and change in your people yet still loving them and accepting them right where theyre at. Pastor Brady thanks for this. I really feel this perspective is something i needed as a young Lead Pastor. Oh and cant wait for Sons & Daughters. the cover looks great.

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