Monday, September 29, 2008

Walking the Balance Beam

You've seen the gymnasts do their routines on a 4 inch wide beam, leaping and tumbling and flipping. How in the world do they do it? How do they keep themselves on those four inches without falling?

Right now I find myself on a balance beam. It's in my role as a pastor, which, btw, is not the only role I have in life. (I say that because I forget and often times so do others.)

As a pastor I am a shepherd - technically an "undershepherd" to the Chief Shepherd of the flock. My job, along with the other shepherds in our congregation is to lead God's sheep to the green pastures and still waters of His choosing. His will is not difficult to discern, since He has given us a book full of directions that are pretty specific.

Where I want to fall off the beam is in supplanting God's wisdom with my own in pointing others to the food and water. I want to take detours around obstacles facing the sheep to avoid hurting feelings - sometimes when God is lead them over the rocks and through the dark valleys. I want to make life easier for them when God is trying to mature them through the pains and difficulties that come with life.

For example, the Word is crystal when Jesus addresses how we're to deal with offenses. It's not rocket science. If someone offends you, Jesus said, go to that person and clear it up. Yet how many times am I brought into a riff because a third party, who should never have been involved *yet comes to me with "Pastor, you've got to do something!".

No, I don't. They do.

I want to. I like thinking I can fix and mediate. But Jesus said that until the parties involved have come together and made the attempt I'm to butt out. I shouldn't even know what's going on. And as a shepherd I shouldn't allow other sheep to get involved either. Because when they do, thinking they're helping, they are in reality falling off the beam as well. It's not about motive or sincerity or even compassion. It's about obedience.

The beam is narrow. Staying on it leads to life. All other paths are wide - even if I think they're helping - lead to destruction. Keeping the balance to stay where God has placed me isn't easy. But it's right. Not just for pastors, but for all believers in community.

*Matthew 18:15-17


Mrs Redboots (Annabel Smyth) said...

Indeed, and as an ice-skater as well as a preacher, I hear where you're coming from.

(Oh, and my blog is now up and running, if you'd care to take a look).

Michelle Jamie said...