How do you pick a pastor? Is it by his work experience? Is it by his education? Is it by his preaching ability? Is it by his good looks, charm, and overall personality? Is it by his fit with the feel of the congregation? Or do we pick him at all? It is unfortunate that we have turned pastoring into a career and thus have affected how we deal with the calling in most ministries. Too often now we consider the most suitable and qualified person for the position, like any other job in the world. The funny thing is, Yahweh has this knack of choosing the most unqualified person and equipping them for the task. Could it be that we are leaving Yahweh's will to one side?
There is a difference between being "sent" and just going. There is a difference between being chosen and choosing. There is a difference between being called and desiring a position. A hired shepherd will not lay down his life for the benefit of the sheep. At the first sign of danger to himself he will run. A family shepherd will do whatever it takes to protect and raise those sheep, he will sacrifice day and night. He knows he must stand his ground because there is nowhere to run to, this is his responsibility.
Samuel was a great prophet, priest and judge. He led the people of Israel well but he was also a father. And as a father he thought well of his children; he thought well of his sons. He wanted the very best for them, so he set them up as judges in Israel:
Now it came to pass when Samuel was old that he made his sons judges over Israel. (1 Samuel 8:1)
It seemed a logical thing to do. Samuel was getting old and needed help. Who better to help him than his sons. But judges were not selected by man, they were chosen by Yahweh, set aside for his purpose and given the ability to do what was necessary by Yahweh. Samuel made a mistake here and Israel was changed forever:
But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside after dishonest gain, took bribes, and perverted justice. (1 Samuel 8:3)
As a result the elders were provoked to demand for a king because they wanted to be like all the other nations. Because of Samuel's decision to do what only Yahweh does, the nation rejected Yahweh as their king. The strange thing is, this same attitude resulted in their first king being removed from the throne.
King Saul stepped into a responsibility that wasn't his. Before battle, Samuel, the priest, would come and offer a sacrifice. On the eve of a great battle Samuel was late and Saul was panicked. He looked around and decided the need trumped the call so he stepped in and offered the sacrifice himself. He went from king to priest. Because of this arrogance Yahweh took the kingdom from him.
There are many examples of people taking on responsibilities that were not appointed to them or of man choosing according to his logic, leaving Yahweh out of it. We have to stop and realize that such things are beyond our comprehension and it is Yahweh who chooses who he wants when he wants. Sometimes he picks people with the qualities we expect and sometimes he chooses an insignificant shepherd boy to become the greatest leader of his people. Sometimes he chooses a well educated man and sometimes he chooses a drunk. Sometimes he chooses a man of great leadership ability and sometimes he chooses a carpenter, plumber, baker. The fact is, it is his choice and not ours.
Allow me to highlight key phrases from 1 Corinthians 12, the great chapter on the Body of Christ:
But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. (v. 11)
But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. (v.18)
And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues. (v.28)
And if we were to take a quick look at another passage concerning the Body of Christ:
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. (Ephesians 4:11)
It is very dangerous ground to walk on to appoint yourself or someone else to a position that Yahweh reserves for himself. It is not a thing of elitism because everyone is called to something but we are called by Yahweh's appointment, for his purpose. We are not to walk in someone else's calling and responsibilities. We have our own calling to deal with.
Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion in the Body these days because we have adopted the attitude of the world in assigning responsibilities and have left the Spirit out of it. We are paying a great price for that decision.