What makes a man a virtuous and serving pastor? I would say it is not how eloquently he delivers the sermon, nor is it how much respect and integrity he gives and displays to the congregation. Where are we to find virtue and servitude among our shepherds?
By the grace of God can we as the sheep among the Lord’s people receive the blessing of having a pastor who is unwavering to the Truth, and by the Spirit transforming him, living out the fruits of the Spirit day-in and day-out. Yet do these qualities necessarily define a pastor as a servant? One could argue that the fruits of the Spirit would bring forth servitude, but what does it look like?
If you gain anything from this, let it be to remind you to be thankful to God for him equipping and placing a shepherds to oversee his church on earth – specifically, give thanks for your pastor. They live costly lives, as the Lord demands us to give up our lives for Him; He demands the very thing for pastors as well. Pastors can undoubtedly lead wearisome lives as well, having to cope with the burdens and strains of counseling, administration, and proclamation of the Word. Yet thankfully we can all cast our anxieties on our Lord, because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
Why am I so thankful for my serving pastor?
This year my mother had an accident late at night past twelve-midnight while at home. Naturally, my father and I were frightfully plunged into desperation to help my mother who appeared to be unconscious, or choking, or with a head injury. Calling 911, and after arriving my dad and I allowed the paramedics to quickly transfer her onto a stretcher, tie down her head, and rush her out to the ambulance and speed off to the hospital.
I was terrified, I was hyperventilating, and I was so fearful for the well-being of my mother; we had no clue of what was wrong. For some strange, odd, and foolish-sounding reason, my first instinct was to call my pastor. Expecting nothing, I had this unexplainable gut feeling to just hear his comfort in that time of despair. So, I looked up his contact on my phone and clicked the icon to begin the call.
Who in their right mind would answer their phone at the AM hours of the night? Well, maybe my pastor was not in his right mind (or was he), because he answered the phone soon after it began to ring. He said, “Hello,” the muffled sound of tiredness evident in the voice. The only thing I could say, as I was crying very uncontrollably at the time, was, “my mom is hurt, we had to call 911 and they took her to the hospital.” His following question, “Are you and your father OK?” I told him, “We are really scared.” Without any more questions, no more clarification, he responded, “I will head over right away to the hospital.”
My father and I quickly changed from our sleepwear into jeans and a sweater as the temperature was in the single digits. A couple minutes passed and we were in the car, pulling out the driveway and rushing to the hospital. The ride was full of sorrow. Both my father and I were tearful. We knew not what had happened to my mother, all we knew is she was completely unresponsive to any of the measures the 911 operator instructed us to take. Fortunately, we live only five minutes away from the hospital, so the ride was quick, but painful.
We walked into the front doors, with eager desperation we inclined to the whereabouts of my mother. We were guided into a hallway and the attendant pointed to the room at the end of the hallway where we would find her. Quickly walking down the hallway, which seemed like an endless tunnel to dread, we finally arrived at the opening to the room where my mother would be. My father and I both took a deep breath and pulled back the curtains expecting the worst. We were graciously spared the pain.
There on the bed, sitting in an upright position was my mother, with a smile on her face. I could see from her eyes that she had some pain, but that there was sincere joy in her nevertheless. I then looked to the left of her where, stunningly, sat my pastor and his faithful wife. They sat there by my mother, comforting her, and serving her. How had they arrived before my father and I, when we live nearly ten minutes closer than them to the hospital? I will not lie, the Spirit did not withhold from me any tears. For I was truly amazed at how blessed I am to have such a pastor and a wife of identical servitude.
My mother turned out to be just fine. She had been going through a great deal of stress and was battling the exhausting toll that a bleeding disorder takes on the body after surgery. God however, showed me that day what a true serving pastor looks like. I know for certain that God gave me the overwhelming urge to call my pastor as a reaction to the events which had just took place. A pastor is more than an eloquent speaker; a pastor is more than an inspiration; a pastor is more than a shepherd. A true pastor, empowered by the Spirit of God, is a servant – one who casts aside their own life and time to immediately take of the cross of Christ.
Praise the Lord for just that reason, which is one among many, I am thankful beyond earthly words for the blessing of a man who lives for Christ, died to himself, and made available to his church family the true beauty of what it means to be a faithful and loving servant.
“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
~ Philippians 2:1–5 (ESV)
Soli Deo Gloria.
P.S. The name of my virtuous and serving pastor is Daniel Dainsberg of Faith Chapel in Green Bay, Wisconsin.