By Karlo Janssen
How open are you with your pastors?
(By “Pastors” I don’t just mean your minister. Paul spoke of the elders of Ephesus as appointed shepherds of God’s flock (Acts 20:28). Peter addressed elders as shepherds (1Peter 5:1-4). Ministers are pastors. Elders are pastors too. Thus: in Abbotsford we have sixteen pastors, not just two.)
How open are you with your pastors? Elders are called to watch over souls as they will have to give an account (Hebrews 13:17). To do so responsibly, they have to know you. To that end Reformed churches have the agreement that elders will visit the homes. Every year elders will visit the members of the congregation in their district or ward to encourage, instruct, and admonish them.
How open are you during such a visit?
Here in Abbotsford, BC, we recently heard a sermon on John 15:4-5, the theme text for this home visit season. As the final song for the service we sang some stanzas from Psalm 139 (Anglo Genevan Psalter). Stanza 1:
“LORD, you have searched my heart and soul. My inmost thoughts, you know them all. When I sit down and when I rise you see me with your watchful eyes. And from afar your keen discerning reveals to you my hopes and yearnings.”
The believer is comforted by the knowledge that God knows him or her thoroughly.
We also sang stanza 5, about God being with us and His right hand guiding us wherever we are in this world.
Then we sang stanza 13, and a thought struck me:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; see if I from your ways depart. LORD, probe my every anxious thought and let me by your word be taught. Help me walk on where you are leading, in everlasting ways proceeding.”
God sends out pastors to shepherd His flock in His Name. Elders are God’s instrument, Christ’s gift to the church (Ephesians 4:11-12). We petition God to search us, know us, observe us, probe us, teach us, help us, and lead us. It’s the elders who do the searching, the knowing, the seeing, the probing, the teaching, the helping, the leading.
Thus the question is a very valid one. If we pray God to search us and we shut our pastors out, how sincere are we?
Please. For God’s sake, for your own sake, for your pastor’s sake, for the church’s sake, open up.