It was February 1, 2009 when I was formally installed as pastor of our church, Baliwag Bible Christian Church. Since then, people begin calling me “pastor” more frequently and with a different tone. I can sense the respect from some when they call me pastor. Though some of my friends are teasing me when they call me pastor.
Whatever the case, it made me reflect on what it really means to be a pastor. And although it may be a cause for boasting for others, I feel humbled by the marvelous goodness of God in letting me lead his church. Sometimes I fear that I won’t be as successful as other pastors. But I learned that the question I must ask is not, “How can I be successful?” but, “How can I be faithful?”
That’s how Mother Theresa viewed her ministry to the poor in Calcutta, India. A senator asked her while touring her work in that place, “How can you bear the load without being crushed by it?” She replied, “My dear senator, I am not called to be successful, but faithful.”
God wants us all to be faithful ministers. God wants all pastors like me to be faithful shepherds.
Like Paul who introduced himself as “an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God” (Col. 1:1). Like the Christians in Colossae who are “the saints and faithful brothers in Christ” (1:2). Like Epaphras, who preached the gospel to them and was probably their pastor, too. He was a “beloved fellow servant” and a “faithful minister of Christ” (1:7). Like Tychicus who is a “beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord” (4:7). Like Onesimus, a “faithful and beloved brother” (4:9). And like what Paul reminded the Colossian Christians to say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord” (4:17).
Like these faithful men, we must aim not for success but for faithfulness in whatever ministry we have received from God. We must fear not failing other people’s expectations but failing God’s.
How can I then be a faithful pastor? How can we all be faithful servants of God? How can we take good care of what God has placed in our hands, whether it be big or small in our eyes?
From the first sermon I preached since being installed as leading pastor of our church, I gave five things that we need to keep in mind so that we will be faithful servants and ministers of God. These are based on Paul’s example of faithful ministry in Colossians 1:28-29:
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (ESV)
You can read the whole sermon here.