Does it surprise you that being a pastor is perilous? I doubt it. You live with the reality of it each day. But to some who are not in the ministry, serving others sounds as safe and harmless as a poached egg on a plate.
What could possibly be perilous about it? Plenty.
As we examine Paul’s words in the fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians, I’d like to suggest several familiar misconceptions regarding serving God. Read the familiar words in verses four through seven carefully:
The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. (2 Corinthians 4:4–7)
Sounds like servants comprise an elite body of people, doesn’t it? They possess a treasure. The “surpassing greatness” of God’s power pours out of their lives. But when you look closely, you detect that all of that is of God, not themselves. We pastors know this for a fact, don’t we?
This introduces us to a misconception: pastors have special powers in themselves. How very easy it is for our flocks to look at us through rose-colored glasses!
It’s almost as if we possess a mystical, divine unction or some angelic “mantle” that causes us to ooze with supernatural, heaven-sent power. But this is wrong! Look at an earlier verse:
Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. (2 Corinthians 3:5)
We have no special powers in ourselves.
Mark it well: we pastors are 100% human, filled with all the weaknesses and potential for failure that characterize every other human being. In light of that, be careful!