Friday, May 07, 2010

Another Reason That I'd Make a Lousy Pastor...

This weekend is Mother's Day here in the USA (Australia, too!). I don't know how many other countries celebrate Mother's Day this weekend (not really important to this post) but I do wish all of you mothers a happy day. Thanks to you, Mom, and thanks to Chris who is a wonderful mom to my two kids.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Happy Mother's Day, Chris!

Now you might be looking back at the title of this post and rereading what you've already read once and wondering how Mother's Day would make me a lousy pastor.

Well, here's the deal: On Sunday morning, from pulpits across the country, preachers will be delivering messages that have to do with...well, mothers. Some will talk about mothers from the Bible, others about biblical qualities in mothers, and still others will preach messages about Mary, the mother of Jesus. And while I think that our society should certainly set aside a day to honor our moms, our purpose at church is to give honor to God and God alone.

This type of diversion from our worship of God will happen again on Memorial Day weekend, Father's Day, Fourth of July, etc., etc. Do you see what I mean about me being a lousy pastor? Pastor's have to worry about public opinion the same way that politicians do. Pastors have to cater to the congregation members that hold hostage the tithes and offerings that rightfully belong to God (but not until they surrender them). Pastors have to compromise to keep people happy. Pastors are expected to do the things that the church has always done, smile nicely, shake hands, kiss babies...did I mention that they are like politicians?

Am I wrong to think of messages that honor mothers on Mother's Day as idolatry? When preachers preach about God and Country on Memorial Day weekend instead of just God--is that okay on the day that we gather to worship God alone?

It's probably a good thing that pastors want to preach in their home churches on these special days. That means that I don't have to worry about offending any members by treating my time in the pulpit exactly the same as I do on any other Sunday.

To all of the pastors that find themselves reading this--you do what you feel the Holy Spirit is telling you to do and pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. I've never been where you are and you owe me no explanations. You are only accountable to God (and your membership!).

So be sure to honor your mother this weekend--take her out to dinner or cook for her at home. Send her a card or give her a call. But let's keep our worship of God for God alone and give him thanks for our moms.



Anonymous said...

Well said my Brother! Let us all be lead by the Holy Spirit!
Pat S.

Anonymous said...

I guess maybe I don't understand your viewpoint. Doesn't your pastor teach about how God loves us using stories about Peter, Moses, David, etc.? He talks about people other than Jesus, right? Doesn't he teach about how God wants us to love others by using stories about people as well? Don't you, at your church, learn about being a disciple by hearing wonderful illustrations from the NT about unbelievers who want to believe, the faith of the blind or lame? the flawed fishermen...The love of a father or mother etc.
I can't really imagine that taking time to learn about Mary or spending 15 minutes examining passages from the bible that talk about honoring parents would dishonor God. The Bible tells us in several different places that we should honor our parents, doesn't it? He obviously thinks it's worth mentioning, so wouldn't a pastor also think it worth mentioning? Don't you? Is it really so awful to take 20 seconds to thank all the moms (or people who have served in the military). I consider those moments as community moments. Family moments. It's a good thing. really. And part of being a church family.

We learn our God lessons through MANY, MANY different stories and different people in the Bible as well as people we meet today. Our Pastor teaches us about God when he talks about Paul or Mary or well...anyone from the pages of the Bible. The message is always about GOD even though he is using stories or passages about people. Or maybe he tells us of personal experiences and then ties it all together with a bible story in a way that someone who isn't a mature Christian can understand. I don't know...I'd love to hear about Mary or one of the other moms from the Bible tomorrow. Don't know how that will work. Our current series is on Fear ("Do not be afraid" is mentioned several times in the Bible)

God is awesome and all the Glory goes to Him - always.

Melissa said...

I think the point of those messages should be how Christian mothers should and do honor God by being good mothers. I don't think there is anything wrong with talking about women who have honored God with their mothering. I thin sometimes the messages may not come across that way but I think that is the point of them, to show people in the church how a mother can honor God.

SF Hill said...

I have a different perspective.

1. Is the purpose--the sole purpose--to honor God?
2. Even if the answer is yes, there are many means to that end.
3. Perfectly appropriate to use current events, popular culture, secular traditions, etc. to demonstrate the presence of God, the expected actions from those who believe, etc.
A message on mother's day, labor day, earth day is a way to get God out of the Bible(Koran, Book of Mormon...)and in to life.
4. Nothing wrong with delivering a message on a topic people expect to hear about. It's not selling out to keep people happy, keep people coming back, drawing new people in. Think of it as building a community.
5. Geez, I can think of at least two other people who have seemingly stubborn or curmudgeonly streak like that. Maybe it's genetic.

Your brother Steve

Pastor Greg Yount said...

I can't say I'm a good pastor - but I AM a pastor. I CAN say that preaching about mothers, country, or war based on the "holidays" is NOT compromise - IF it is done Biblicly. For instance, this past Mother's Day, I preached on "parenting" as a topic (of which mothers are most influential) and discussed the challenges mothers (parents) face in order to pass the faith on to their kids in a world that is fighting so hard against that. It was a challenge to parents AND kids to press on and go deeper in their faith and its expression.

I will be giving a Memorial Day sermon for an interdenominational group here and plan to use the occasion to think on the faith of others who have given so much as an inspiration for us to follow suit in our day. I don't see that as compromise in any way if it challenges us to lift up the name of Jesus higher. Even the Bible writers did that - see Heb 11, the "hall of faith."

Love ya' brother, Greg