Pastors take on a lot of responsibilities when they answer the call of the Lord to shepherd a flock of people. They need to care for them, teach them, look to give Godly counsel in their times of difficulties, listen to their complaints as well as their words of encouragement, do baby dedications and even sadly officiate at the funerals of those loved ones who die, to name a few.
I’ve said many times from the pulpit, pastors do not have the luxury of being able to choose what people will be in their church. They also don’t have the ability to draft certain good people from other churches or sign up those people they really like to long term commitments at their church. Bottom line: pastors are called by the Lord to minister to those people who for whatever reason have decided to call them their pastor and that church their home.
A wonderful responsibility pastors have is officiating at weddings. Wedding celebrations are traditionally happy occasions in people’s lives. The guests who’ve been invited to the wedding, usually come bearing gifts for the couple getting married and they join in in the celebration of their wedding.
The whole wedding procession and how it is done is of great importance to the couple getting married. The flowers have to be in the right place, the bridesmaids dresses must be right and the groomsmen must look proper and the list goes on. Yet, the most important part of the wedding ceremony for the minster is when the man and woman declare their vows to one another before the Lord and in front of all their friends and witnesses.
In these vows, the man and woman are declaring before the Lord that they will love, honor, cherish, remain faithful to one another as long as they live and faithfully stand with each other, for better or worse, richer or poor, in sickness and in health.
The most common place in the wedding ceremony where couples seem to shed tears is when they come to the part they declare their vows to each other; vows that are sacred. I am not really sure those who are getting married totally understand what they are saying when they vow, ‘For better or worse.’
I believe the church, the body of Christ, you and me, also doesn’t totally understand what it means to be committed to a body of believers, for better or worse, otherwise we wouldn’t sadly see so many people leave churches, a group of fellow believers they once committed to stand with, over the slightest issue. The institution of marriage was never designed by the Lord to be treated that way, yet we sadly find so many Christians leaving their spouses over issues that can be resolved through hard work and the Lord.
Let me take it one step higher: can you imagine the Lord treating His covenant with us the same way we treat our commitment to one another in the church. The Lord declares in Isaiah 54:10 “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you“
I sadly confess, I’ve given the Lord more than enough reasons to leave me, to forget His covenant He made with me. Yet, I am so thankful when the Lord received me as His child and He did it ‘for better or worse’ never to leave me or forsake me!
Vows in a marriage will come under times of testing in the life of a marriage as they will with relationships in a church. Vows and commitments are only as serious as you and I make them to be. In His Word, God declares to his bride, you and me, “Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you”
The next time someone at church upsets or hurts you or the pastor seems distant to you, remember the Lord loved you with an unfailing love, He has taken you, for better or worse. Extend that same love and grace to those people and see what the Lord will do with your obedience.
Don’t run off to another church, that’s not commitment. The Lord didn’t run away from you!!!
Categories: A Pastor's Blog