Here’s the problem: pressure, weariness, confusion, and sin tend to distract pastors from this primary Wordwork. Our daily duties—planning, putting out fires, meetings, reading, emails—all can be infused with Scripture, but you and I both know that they often aren’t. Sometimes the Bible becomes a plaque on the wall of our work.
Pastors draw energy from promising and interesting challenges—a new discipleship strategy, a surge in visitors, young believers eager to grow, the next sermon series. But sometimes the rains don’t come. The pandemic drove most pastors into a wilderness of bewildering tech demands, preaching to an empty room, and trying to shepherd without presence. Add to that the debilitating conflicts so many pastors face among their people. Badlands indeed.
When Jesus appeared incognito to Cleopas and his fellow disciple on the Emmaus road they couldn’t make sense of Jesus’ death or the angels’ proclamation of his resurrection. Your people may be further down the road with Jesus than those two, but God put you among them, Bible in hand, to serve in Jesus’ stead.
Perhaps, with our noses pushed so hard upon the grindstone, we might lose sight of the gifts God gives us. For one thing, he has made us a Wordworker—one among the “apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers, to equip God’s people for works of service.” Sit back for a moment and think on this gift.
What matters most in our ministries is delivering God’s Word to both believers and unbelievers. All good shepherds, if indeed God has called them, have a Spirit-given instinct, affinity, and capacity for Scripture. After all, a shepherd who cannot handle the Bible is like a shepherd without rod and staff, helpless to feed, lead, or guard the flock.