Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It’s Not My Job

When we hear the statement, "It's not my job," we assume that someone is shirking responsibility. Someone like the road stripper who left this evidence (HT: TonyRogers.com).

But I've found that "It's not my job," can be a helpful response for a pastor.

I'm not talking about taking out the trash, shoveling the walk or sweeping the floor. Jesus showed by his example that no one should consider himself "above" menial tasks.

There are many things that pastors wrongly take responsibility for. Sometimes this happens because they have a messiah complex. Sometimes this happens because they want to please people. Sometimes this happens because they are strangers to grace.

Here's a list of things that I've finally realized are not my responsibility.

  • It's not my job to make my church grow. All I can do is to be faithful in the charge that God has given me. When I start trying to make my church grow, I forget that only God can produce lasting growth. Just using the phrase "my church" can be dangerous.

  • It's not my job to rescue people. I can care for people. I can give them assistance. I can listen to their stories. But I do not have the power to fix what is wrong with them. (I don't have the power to fix what is wrong with me.) When I try to rescue others, we are both likely to drown.
  • It's not my job to convert people. Jesus commissioned his disciples to make disciples. We generally reduce that to getting people signed up for heaven. With this mindset, we start setting goals, quotas and sales projections. Before we know it, we are giving people the hard sell, for their own good of course. But I cannot save anyone. I cannot even convince them that they need to be saved. All I can do is proclaim the good news and show them what a life lived by grace looks like.
  • It's not my job to collect power and wealth. We have so westernized Jesus Christ that we've completely forgotten that he was poor and apparently powerless. It's hard to make the connection between this meek itinerate teacher and the modern business ventures that use his name.
  • It's not my job to plan out the future. We're all familiar with the business mantra: To fail to plan is to plan to fail. We've been taught to create the future with our goals and plans. We certainly need to be prepared for the future. But we cannot make it conform to our plans any more than we can program a child to turn out exactly the way we think is ideal. We can't even predict the future with any degree of certainty. Why do we think we can shape it to our specifications?
  • It's not my job to secure my own significance. I am not significant because of what I've done or what I'm doing. I'm not significant because of who I know. I'm not significant because of who knows me. I am not significant because of how many people hear me preach or read my blog. I'm not significant because of what I've done for God. I'm significant because God loves me just the way I am. Who I am in Jesus Christ is enough. I have nothing to prove. It's because of the gift of God's grace that I am free to serve him, free to indulge the skills, time and opportunity he has given me.
  • It's not my job to motivate people. I've wasted too much of my life trying to convince people to serve God in the way I've decided they should serve. All the while, God was working in and through people all around me. I'm done trying to change people's values. I'm done trying to get them to march to my agenda. Instead, I seek to help those who are already serving God and who want to serve him more effectively. I invite those who want to serve God but don't know how to start. I encourage those through whom God is already accomplishing his will.
  • It's not my job to bring God's kingdom to fulfillment. Unfortunately, I've too often acted as if it was.

Pastor Rod

"Helping You Become the Person God Created You to Be"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What is your job then?