A friend and I were talking the other day. I said, “Remember, you already have a pastor.” My friend hadn’t thought about that and said, “I think I’ve never had a pastor that I had any relationship or friendship with.”
I understood. And was saddened.
I’m sitting at a conference of pastors and church leaders. Our speaker this morning said,
If all we do is teach and tell people things, they aren’t disciples. We need to have relationships of trust, people who are shaped by the WAY we believe, by our life.
He talked about a conversation he had with God.
God said, “He who doesn’t love you isn’t really your disciple.”
Edwin said “So how do I make them love me?”
God said, “Why do you love me?”
Edwin said, “Because you gave your live for me.”
God said, “So give your life for them.”
Those two thoughts have been kicking around my heart: the importance of relationships and the absence of relationships. It’s the heart of the model and the action of Jesus. Have conversations, develop relationships, listen, care, heal bodies, work hard, be exhausted in the work, be emotionally involved. Then die sacrificially. Then come back and live in and through people committed to him.
I can’t do the dying instead of part. But then, I don’t have to. I don’t have to be everyone’s savior. That’s covered. But when I heard Edwin this morning, I confess, I wept a bit. Teaching is easy. Living alongside is way harder, way more vulnerable. It involves working out answers to hard questions rather than giving hard answers to easy questions.
But I’m guessing that my friend isn’t the only one who has never had a pastor as a friend. I’m afraid that there are lots of pastors without friends.