Most people's reaction to the news that I am a father of ten is "You look too young to have ten children". But what I have realized lately is that it is not so much that I look young as it is that I don't remind many people of a father. There is no doubt that I am a dad but I don't have that father spirit about me. You know what I mean. There are some guys you meet who have that father authority about them. Not only are they a father to their children but they are also a father to those who are not.
I think I have always wanted to be that but I have come to realize that I don't have that spirit, I have the brother spirit. I'm the sort of guy you would hang out with at the movies, maybe take in a hockey game, maybe talk to about some problems over a cup of coffee, confide in as well. Those who know me know what I am talking about. In fact, you probably knew it before I was willing to admit it to myself. I think it has always been that way.
I was the kinda guy at school that girls felt comfortable around, who loved to talk to, discussed their problems with, even leaned on. Here I was falling in love with them and they considered me a brother. Frustrating, but I resigned myself to the role. I had no idea that God was working on me to develop a pastoring heart. I learned to listen, be compassionate, understanding but also wise with my words.Without realizing it, I was learning to listen to God's voice, not for my own needs but for the needs of others.
For too long I longed to be a powerful leader who people would listen to and who I could help to discover the wonders of God. I kept trying to fit into the father role but that was not the authority God had given to me. I have a friend, my own pastor, who has that authority. He is a father to countless people because he has been given that authority. I've looked at him and asked, "Why can't I be that?", but then I feel like Peter who questioned Jesus about John. Jesus' words were, "What is it to you. Do what I have given you to do." I have heard those words applied to me many times now.
I am a pastor, different from other leaders and given an authority specific to my calling. I am not an evangelist, prophet and most definitely not an apostle. What I am is a pastor, one who often is sent to walk alongside those who need direction and encouragement. I am patient, compassionate, understanding, stubborn, oops, I mean determined. I don't give up on people. None of this is natural to me but what God has developed in me for his purpose.
Realizing this I can let go of that father image I longed for myself and can easily walk in the brother image God has given me. It's good to know where we fit in and how we work in compliment to the others in the Body of Christ. Know your place and operate in it and we will all be thankful for it; Praise the Lord!