Church Planting Lesson #8: Not Even Jesus Helped Everyone


There is a tendency for pastors to pretend they are superman.  I used to wonder what pastors did with all of their time.  I imagined them sitting like some old-school Rabbi spending every waking hour studying scrolls.  Getting paid to read the Bible didn’t seem like that hard of a job.  Then I became a pastor.  I realized very quickly that a pastor is synonomous with “brokeness magnet”.  It’s like there is an invisible tractor beam hidden somewhere in my body that pulls everyone who is sick and sore right to you.  A simple coffee quickly turns into an open confessional where the person suddenly feels comfortable sharing every dark secret that has plagued them for the last 20 years.  As a young pastor, I too believed I could help everyone and tried my hand at wearing the savior cape (and still do sometimes) to no avail.

What I continue to learn is that I have a limited amount of time, energy, and wisdom.  With my secret tractor beam I have pulled in everything from the demon-possessed to the porn addicts; to those dealing with years of bitterness to others healing from a broken marriage.  In my first three years of being a pastor, a baptism through fire of sorts, I have learned that just because I CAN help someone, doesn’t mean I MUST, or should. In other words, an opportunity does not equaly a responsibility every time. 

I know that might sound harsh to some.  But when I read the gospels, I see Jesus NOT healing more people than he actually heals.  In fact, he chooses to turn away from crowds at time, chooses to go up on mountains to pray, chooses to not seize the opportunity to help more people though he easily could.  I see Jesus taking rests on the edge of wells, sending disciples for a bite to eat, and sitting down with friends.  The difficult thing is trying to discern who, when, and if to help someone. The alternative is to help no one or to try and help everyone.  I fault on trying to help (or fix) everyone, but neither extreme ever results in giving God more glory.  Pastors are just men, called to be tools for God to heal.  In other words, God is the healer and I am nothing more than a mail man, one with a limited number of deliveries.


Author: Sam Ford

Sam Ford is a preacher, planter, and pastor from the Pacific Northwest. He is currently pastoring Restoration Road Church in Snohomish, WA.

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