We have been talking about pastors and scholarship. I have gotten several questions about the need for scholarship and erudition in the pastoral office. The implication of the questions is that scholars should not be in the pulpit but in a classroom. We talked about the definition of scholar as someone who knows a lot about a subject. The second definition of a scholar is a student.
Pastors need to be students of history, Church History writ large and his churches history and families of origin and how his people work out their faith (or do not) in everyday situations. He needs to understand why some who accepted the message with thanksgiving slowly fade away. He needs to be a student especially of the parable of the sower from Luke 8.
While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”
When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”
“ ‘though seeing, they may not see;
though hearing, they may not understand.’a
11“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
If this parable is not internalized the Pastor may drive himself crazy. The zeal for sowing has to be tempered with the understanding that he is not the one who produces the harvest. His job is to preach in season and out to those who will hear and those who won’t and he needs to understand the difference. His love must be to preach, and to preach and to peach some more. As the sower of seed and the watchman on the wall he has enough to do. Marketing and presentation are important as awful as that sounds. There is a definite need for study and continued learning and he must be a student of what is important and what is not.
Everyday he has to learn again the blessings of God’s mercy and grace to him and all the children of men. He needs to be a student of the Scriptures that make I wise unto salvation in Jesus Christ. He should look carefully at the words of Jesus – “Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is a householder which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old,” Matt. 13, 52.