Written by Michael Pursley
There is an old, old story of some Russians crossing wide plains studded over here and there with small forests.
“The villages were ten or a dozen miles from each other, the wolves were out, the horses were rushing forward madly, the travelers could hear the baying of the wolves behind them; and, tho the horses tore along with all speed, yet the wolves were fast behind, and they only escaped, as we say, “by the skin of their teeth,”managing just to get inside some hut that stood in the road, and to shut-to the door. Then they could hear the wolves leap on the roof; they could hear them dash against the sides of the hut; they could hear them gnawing at the door, and howling, and making all sorts of dismal noises; but the travelers were safe, because they had entered in by the door, and the door was shut. Now, when a man is in Christ, he can hear, as it were, the devils howling like wolves, all fierce and hungry for him; and his own sins, like wolves are seeking to drag him down to destruction.”
Your pastor hears the wolves, and if he is following the Lord’s directives, he feels deeply for the safety of your souls. He yearns, with an agonizing yearning, for your eternal safety. And often, while he is striving for your souls, he is himself, lonely, depressed and may be financially broke.
Sometimes your pastor’s path is full of light and happiness, flowers of blessings may bloom along the way, and he feels confident and he is full of patience. But at other times he is walking through the very “shadow of death.” During those times he is being hounded by wolves and lions and every hurtful creature. He struggles with his weaknesses within, and the Satanic attacks without. Often these attacks by Satan are initiated and carried out by the ones who are the closest to his heart. Sometimes a spouse, or a child, parents, friends, employers, and most often the very sheep who he yearns so strongly for; the ones he has spent entire nights in prayer pleading in their behalf; those weakest one, are often the very same ones most apt to turn on him.
During these times, is it easy for him to take his eyes off of Jesus and begin to fight the battle in his own terms, and in his own strength? You bet it is. Your pastor is not perfect by a long shot. But I will also bet you that no one feels his weaknesses more keenly than he does. And when he stops, God has usually has given him a wife, who he has also entrusted with a ministry, the “ministry of the pin,” that little sharp instrument that she sticks into his heart to bring his attention back where it belongs, and his eyes back on to Christ. God bless her! God has let her be your pastor’s pastor; the one who God often uses the most to hold him accountable. Yet, she too, is often lonely in heart, and not perfect by a long shot. Yet those two… Those glorious two people are called, not to be your friends, they can never truly be your friends, for they have been given a higher calling, to be your minister.
How should your treat the pastor and his wife? You should treat them with the utmost kindness, patience and abundant respect. Regarding them each as shepherds and helpers, to whom God has given the responsibility of helping you find your eternal home.
And be assured that God himself will hold your pastor with a holy accountability, that is more dreadful in its judgment, more terrible in its scrutiny, more demanding than imaginable in any earthly court, and with more of the consequences of responsibility than you would ever want on your shoulders. So the next time you want to growl, condemn, and eternally find fault with your pastor…or his wife… stop dead in your tracks! For the same God that holds your minister accountable is the same one who will defend him with every angel in high places if necessary, –if he feels that what he wants. Remember, “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” And may I say, be careful, be very careful, for you really do not want fall into God’s hands for hurting the minister he has sent to guide you.
Grace and peace