1 Thessalonians 2:1-8
This is the Week Of The Ministry. A mother and her four-year-old daughter were in a hospital waiting room when a minister came in who was wearing a clergy collar. The little girl was fascinated with the collar and kept staring at the pastor. He noticed it out of the corner of his eye and went up to the little girl and asked, “Do you know what this collar means?” She looked up and said, “I sure do. It kills fleas for six months!”
Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “I might have entered the ministry if certain clergymen I knew had not looked and acted so much like undertakers.” Spanish proverb: An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy.
We are called by many title; clergy, priest, minister, pastor, preacher and rector, just to name a few. The pastor has been long standing in God’s word. Our very first priest (clergy) is recorded early in the Book of Genesis. Gen 14:18 Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.
The Church has always viewed that it was God’s responsibility to “call” ministers. 1 Sam 3:1 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, `Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.'” The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.
Eph 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Scripture teaches that God gives talents to those He has called. It is our tradition to test that call. We require the individual to receive an education. 2 Tim 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. A farmer who looked up in the sky and saw clouds form the letters “GPC.” He dropped everything and goes to preach Christ. The congregation that heard him preach said, “Go Plow Corn.” As a part of our seminary education we are forced to look closely at our calling.
Ministers have derived their immediate authority to preach, teach, lead worship, care for souls and perform their other duties from the Church and from the Bible. Apart from the Church and the Scriptures, the minister has no authority. It is God’s Word that calls the clergy person and sets the standards for the clergy.
I find three important qualities in those called to be ministers. Faith: Abraham was called to leave Ur and go to the promise land. Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so what is seen was not made out of what was visible. The clergy are men and women full of faith, yet they are human and make mistakes.
Leadership: Moses grew up in the household of Pharaoh and received the best training and education possible. He was a reluctant leader but a well respected leader. The story of Moses shows that God enables the leader to be a lead.
Obedience: King David was a great leader and a man of faith. But David also shows us something of obedience. Sure, he was human and did some very dumb things, but always came back to obedience.
Paul writes, “we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel.” When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it was a valuable plant.