Bad Medicine

Being a pastor is a great privilege that carries with the calling a great responsibility to care for people, study the scriptures and to maintain a lifestyle of constant prayer. With these responsibilities come stress, misunderstandings, and the pressure to be a lot of things to a lot of people. When this stress reaches a tipping point, pastors, like everyone else want relief.

Obviously, our only source for lasting peace and sustained strength is God and He is more than enough for a pastor or anyone else. Unfortunately, the world offers cheap and easy escapes, including one that is not on most pastor’s radars. The first four on the list are most often noted as counterfeit ways to dodge the realities that weigh us down.

1. Illegal drugs or legal drugs used foolishly

2. Excessive alcohol

3. Food eaten just to comfort us and not to nourish.

4. Illicit sex

But, there is a fifth form of medication, one that most pastors are addicted to without even knowing. It’s the addiction of adoring crowds. Big crowds, little crowds, and medium size crowds all have the power to medicate our egos and sooth our hidden pain. Why do you think it is so hard many times for a pastor to transition the church to his successor? They certainly want the next guy to take the baton while the light is burning brightly, but they cannot seem to leave the stage and the crowds. They cannot imagine a life without a microphone and pulpit.

We are not performers on a stage hoping for good reviews and our identity is not derived from the laughs prompted by well-timed jokes.  We are pastors tasked with a sacred assignment and our identity is and always should be as servant Christ followers who are using the gifts God gave us. We are just a part of the body, not the focus of the body.

I love the people that sit in front of me each weekend. They are my family and my friends. I enjoy teaching them the scriptures and I love what happens when the teaching connects with their listening hearts and seeing eyes. The miracles, answered prayers, and changed lives more than trump the difficulties of the pastoral vocation.

The moment we stop seeing people’s faces and remembering their stories, we will only see a mass of people who exist for our soulish benefit. I love a good laugh, a touching story that brings us to tears and I am fine with the family applauding when the pastor needs honest applause. I just want to make sure my heart gets life, healing and strength from something more eternal. I want to take the right medicine before I stand before the crowd so I do not settle for something that will only make matters worse.

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  1. You’ve categorized this commen problem in the most logical place…the root of it as an addiction to soothe the soul, often as a reaction to the stress of demands of ‘ministry’. its so true. It also shows that we’re all in need of meaningful acceptance. Even Pastors! But we have to make sure we’re looking in the right places for it. Thanks for your candidness. Humility and accountability are undoubtedly necessary at all times.

  2. Discerning people can tell who is in the Word daily and who just use it (Him) when convenient. This recent letter is why I love Brady so much. It is obvious to me where his priorities are. I pray he continues to keep them straight putting our King first in genuine daily devotions, loving his wife and family and us.

  3. Only when we immerse and marinate ourselves in the presence of (the) One will we live out our lives for an Audience of only the One?

  4. Found this article on Pastorfinder and appreciate you pointing out the pride that intoxicates many teachers, whether supported or not. I have read of a format for assemblies that provides an ongoing safeguard for all.

    In 1977 Regal Books pub. the rev. ed. of Ray Stedman’s,
    BODY LIFE. The end of it relates the Sun. night body life services at the Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto,CA that had been occuring for seven years. Those meetings had the DIALOGUE that Acts 20:7 records. When the whole church can speak, growth increases. Reading Eph.4:15-16 carefully we see that every member contributes to the growth by speaking. Cf. 1 Cor.14:24-5, Luke 6:45.

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