Skip to main content

A Preacher, His Priorities and Piety

"Piety always upholds the preacher in his constant need to discern priorities."  This is from chapter 2 of The Preacher and Preaching, entitled, The Preacher and Piety, (page 69) written by Erroll Hulse.  When I read this sentence I said out loud, "Wow!".
I responded audibly because I had never made the connection between a man's pursuit of godliness and the setting of priorities.  Unfortunately the author doesn't elaborate. In fact, here is the rest of the brief paragraph:
"Which tasks must be attended to first? There is always the necessity of wisdom in the fulfillment of responsibilities, as well as a gracious disposition that should characterize the execution of them."

Pastor's struggle with setting priorities.  In fact, to be able to do so would be a luxury in some cases.  I know in my experience, the needs of the members of the church push their way into my day.  I never know what a day will hold regardless of what I see on my Google calendar.  And this is good; it is part of the calling.  People and their struggles with sin and with others are not something that lends itself to a schedule.

But what about that other part of pastoral care that isn't 'intrusive'?  What about the sheep under our care who rarely, if ever, call on their shepherd?  They must still be tended to, pastored, prayed for and inquired about.  But when? Priorities.  How does my pursuit of godliness or my growth in piety inform me or uphold me in my constant need to discern my priorities?

And what about the issue of study that is not related to the weekly preaching duties?  When is it legitimate for the pastor to take up a subject of interest, or a theological subject that has become an order of business in the presbytery he serves?  How does he discern when to stop studying for his sermon, when not to call a member of the congregation to make room for this study.  Even more direct; is it legitimate to block out a period of time daily, weekly or even monthly for this kind of study? And if so, if someone is to call and request a meeting with the pastor at the time when the study has been schedule, is it legitimate for the pastor to say he is not available?  Priorities.  How does my pursuit of godliness or my growth in piety inform me or uphold me in my constant need to discern my priorities?

These are issues of priority and I am very curious about the connection of the pastor's piety to his discernment regarding these priorities. I am not sure which way to go with my thinking.  But I am intrigued.  Do you have any thoughts?


Comments

  1. Great questions - I think about these things, too. Glad you're blogging about it now, so you can help me out.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

What Say Ye?

Popular posts from this blog

A Wonderfully Diverse Uniformity

We ordained and installed 5 new officers at Grace Community Presbyterian Church on December 15, 2019. It has been my privilege to work with and walk alongside these 5 guys for almost a year, as our process in training and study is that long. We've done this five times now, in our relatively young and small church. Every time I am stunned by God's kindness in giving us men, gifted men, who are willing to shoulder the burden of ordained office. This time, something hit me for the first time. Among our officers, we have teachers, a school administrator, a pilot, a lawyer, a man involved in the insurance industry, a COO and CEO of a health provider in our area, a man who is supplier to car mechanics, an IT man for an oil company, an IT man for a multi-million dollar corporation, an artist and sign-maker, a man who does something with bonds, working with markets all over the world, a man who works in the construction industry, and a rules and regulations guy for BNSF Railr

Getting the Most from Reading your Bible

 The start of the new year often means the start of a new Bible reading plan. For most of us, we start strong, fight through the "descendants" and difficult names. The familiarity of Exodus (thanks to  Cecil B. DeMille ) puts some winds in our reading sails.  Then we hit the rough waters of Leviticus. You get the idea... God reveals Himself to us in His Word. We want to see Him in His Triune glory there. Fighting against the difficulty of reading regularly, consistently, and prayerfully is one of the most important battles we face every day that God gives us.  Below, I am recommending three resources that may help you, not just stick with your Bible reading, but love God's Word more, even the difficult parts. My prayer is that one or two or all three of these resources will help you fight and win the battle so you can consistently read God's Word and God will consistently bless you through your personal Bible reading.  This is not a countdown, from best to least best.

David Powlison (1949-2019)

David Powlison died around 11am on Friday, June 7th, 2019. I wrote this about him a couple of years ago: He taught some of my counseling classes at WTS and is the Executive Director of CCEF. His ability to pastor the human heart and his relentless pursuit of the glory of Christ was on display in the classes he taught. We would often begin classes by singing a hymn together and Dr. Powlison would pull a nugget of truth from the hymn and riff for a few minutes. It was always encouraging to our faith. I will forever be grateful to Dr. Powlison and his wife Nan for how kind they were to me and my young family. He has left a treasure for us in what he has published. Without reservation, I recommend everything below: The Journal of Biblical Counseling . You can subscribe to the digital copy or a hard copy. He was the editor and past copies are available. Seeing with New Eyes . This is a "vision shaping book" that makes the case that the Bible is sufficient for all we e