The Lord sent Nathan to David.
Oh that we each had a Nathan – some prophetic wise man with the courage to confront. There are reasons we don’t; self image and social capital are at risk when confrontation is undertaken. “What will they think of me? I will be rejected if I tell it as I see it.” On-the-give and on-the-take, some of us have confirmed this in personal experience. We ran directly into the flesh’s amazing capacity for self-self-decepetion. Nathan-like intentions have backfired and wrecked the shallow peace of many a relationship. The security of social connection is then gone. This is usually unacceptable.
David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”
It is an astonishing thing that our flesh can be totally indignant at another’s sin while being guilty in some unacknowledged yet identical way. What is it that awakens a sleepy conscience? A word from God and a bold messenger is a good place to start. Feedback this stout usually costs anywhere from $25 to $100 per hour, depending on what type of counselor you choose. How sad that we do not have the pastoral gift flourishing in the body of Christ. I’m not referring to the job: “Pastor.” In the average local church, this title operates for between $25 and $75,000 per year. Of course, if you can bring in the numbers, Pastor might be paid more. Because; numbers = cash flow.
Pastor, as a title. is not what I am referring to. I’m referring to the pastoral gift which was never meant to be thought of as merely a job description locatable on an organizational chart. I’m referring to that empathetic ear coupled with that insightful, caring heart which is always jealous for God’s best in others. Oh that we each had brothers and sisters in Christ near us with the pastoral and the prophetic gifts in play.
Professional religious workers were sparse in the New Testament account of the early church. Why is this? I believe it was because those who were called to be overseers equipped faithful men and women who in turn did the same. The Spirit operating in individuals, through varieties of gifts must have been adequate to deliver those timely and courageous words which have always been essential in the nourishment of Christ’s Body. The Spirit’s presence, interactive in early Church communities, must have been one of the reasons for there radical expansion and influence. Or, shall we credit Constantine and the Pope’s?
The inner workings of the local churches I know function far more like businesses than families. They deal with pastors just like corporations deal with CEO’s, hiring and firing them based on their performance. Even in my small circles I know churches who are quietly preparing to punt the pastor. I know other churches where the senior pastor has taken great care to avoid any hint of a coup. My family and friends must ask, why do you bother to critique the local church; it is not going to change.
I bother because of imagery planted in my heart;
that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. (Ephesians 5:27)
“Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me … Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. (Revelation 21:9-11)
I bother because of the same sentiment David had after he repented. He washed his face and explained himself to those inquiring of his behavior.
Who knows? The Lord may be gracious.