Blank. I don’t know what to say. I hear about all of the problems that people have, and all I have is…nothing. Their problems are so great. Their burdens are too much. I cannot bear them. I have no words. I am…blank…I am nothing. I am helpless to solve their problems. I am unable to soothe their sorrows, I am unable to release them of their tensions. I am…blank…I am nothing.
Yet Christ has called me to this place and time. Christ has called me to minister to these people. He does not say to me, “Go and fix them.” He says to me, “Go and preach to them. Go and forgive them. Go and comfort them.”
But it doesn’t seem like it is enough! It is never enough. I preach, I forgive, and I comfort. I exhort when needed and release them of their sins. But their problems remain. Their brokenness continues. Their sorrows know no end. Families are shattered. Sin abounds. Hatred, jealousy and envy are the watchwords of the day. And I am…blank…I am nothing.
Yet somehow, I have missed the point of the Holy Ministry. I have missed why God does what He does, and who He uses to bring this about. Ezekiel writes,
Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. 23 And I will vindicate the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them. And the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Lord God, when through you I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 24 I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. 25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from fall your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, iand cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. 28 You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and myou shall be my people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:22-28)
God speaks. It is as if He said, “This isn’t about you, Todd. This is about my name, which you do not believe as you ought. For my name’s sake I will forgive them, I will gather them into my holy house, and I will make them my people. I will do this not because you are such a great pastor, but because I am the One Who Saves. I will use you, even your weak and helpless words. In fact, it is that very helplessless that I will use for My Glory and to save My People. This is about Jesus, not you. It is about His work and indestructible life. He is the one who saves, not you. Get over yourself, Todd. Get over yourself and be at peace. My Son and I will send the Spirit of Truth to give you what you need. That is all you need. That is enough. That is who I am.”
So the blank pastor goes back to the sheep. My words do not matter. It is only His Word, His Name, and His great work for me and for all the flock. I am not blank. I have received the Spirit of Truth. This is reality. This is His Word. I am filled up. I am not blank anymore.
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God suppliesin order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.