The Pastor Cornered

The Pastor Cornered

(From the Feb. 13 edition of "Spirit," the newsletter of Fountain City United Methodist Church)

What if your:

  • child’s first grade teacher didn’t seek to teach your child to read?
  • child’s second grade teacher didn’t try to teach your child cursive writing?
  • child’s soccer coach didn’t seek to teach your child that only the goalie/keeper is to touch the ball with their hands?
  • child’s piano teacher didn’t try to teach your child the scales?

There are certain expectations of those with whom we entrust our child’s education in academic and extra-curricular activities. If we expect someone to do a particular task and that task is not carried out, there might be a wide variety of reactions on our part from disappointment to frustration to anger.

What if your pastors did not try to help you know and experience God’s love and grace given to us so freely through Jesus Christ? What if your pastors did not seek to help you grow in love and discipleship? There are several things you should expect from your pastors and you, no doubt, have been disappointed in this pastor’s efforts in certain areas from time to time. However, there is one piece of Christian discipleship where I know I have let you down in helping you to grow as Jesus would have us to grow. You may not even be disappointed that I have not done this, but I have not been faithful to the Scriptures in this area.

And I apologize. I was just really convicted of this last week at our Holston Conference Ministers’ Convocation. The theme for our four days was “Living Stewardship.” Even in the first lecture we heard I thought, “My, my. I have not done my duty.” You have heard me preach some stewardship sermons – usually around budget time. How foolish of me if I have led you to think that we give only to meet a budget.

I have several pages of notes that you are welcome to see (if you can read them). There were many statements made by our lecturer and workshop leaders that I noted, but the next-to-the-last thing that I wrote down was said by our lecturer (Michael Reeves from Plano, Texas) in a workshop of his that I attended. He said: “Many people have more faith in their resources than in God. It’s our job as leaders to change that.” That was just sort of the culmination of everything I heard, and it almost literally took me to my knees.

I won’t try to preach anything right here, but you will be hearing more. I am convicted. You will be hearing more from me about money and our Christian responsibility with it. Considering that there are 2,374 verses in the Bible about money, I figure it’s time we start paying more attention to them.

The Rev. Whedbee is senior pastor of Fountain City UMC in Knoxville, Tenn.