Daily D – 1 Peter 2:9
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 PETER 2:9 (NLT)
1 Peter 2:9, 10
Please allow me to tell you the same story again.
Years ago, the phone rang around bedtime. It was the hospital. A man was near death and he and his family requested a Baptist preacher to come visit them. I quickly dressed, and since I had recently graduated with my doctorate, I put on my ring which signified the accomplishment. I don’t remember if I put on my wedding ring.
When I arrived at the hospital, a boy of about twelve years of age was pacing the hallway outside the dying man’s room. He was muttering to himself, “We need a priest. We need a priest.” Overhearing this, I stepped up to him and said, “I am a pastor.”
He paused his pacing, looked me up and down, and then went back to muttering, “We need a priest. We need a priest.”
Apparently, he did not notice my ring of power.
Peter here declares, “You are royal priests.” Peter was talking to ordinary people like us. He was not addressing his words to seminary-trained and ordained clergymen. He was talking to men and women who trusted Jesus for saving grace and grace to live day by day. In the way we talk about ministry and minsters in evangelical churches, he would say, “You are royal pastors.”
You are a pastor. No further ordination is required. You do not have to wear a clerical collar or a seminary ring. As you put on your new life in Christ (Colossians 3:10, 11), you are equipped to administer the grace you have received (Ephesians 4:1-4).
You are the pastor of your home. You are the pastor of your neighborhood. You are the pastor of your workplace. You are the pastor of your Little League traveling squad. You are the pastor of your book club.
When a worldwide pandemic shuts down church worship services or limits attendance, your faith is not hindered. You are the church. You are the pastor. You are salt and light. You are God’s change agents dispersed to bring flavor and illumination. The church is not stopped in its tracks. The church is accelerated as we live what we say we believe in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our workplaces, and in our Zoom meetings.
If we borrow the language Paul uses in Ephesians 4:11, we could say we are apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds (pastors), or teachers. Apostles are those sent to tell the great story of Jesus. We often call them missionaries when they cross barriers of culture and language. These persons expand boundaries.
Prophets are not those who tell us about The End of the World. Instead, they are those who declare God’s truth for current circumstances. Evangelists are those who love telling about the good news about Jesus. Shepherds, or pastors, are those who watch over and provide care for believers. Teachers are those who provide educational insights and structure.
You probably identify with one of these five expressions more than the others. God wired you that way. He has equipped you to do pastoral work in one of these ways.
Notice when Peter talked about the church he did not talk about a building or a denomination. He talked about people in their ordinary, everyday lives. How did Christianity spread to become the dominant worldview in only three centuries? It was not because of majestic church buildings. There were not any of those. It was not because of the organizational and educational structure of a religion. That would take centuries more to build.
The good news of Jesus spread in homes and in the workaday world because ordinary men and women served as pastors wherever they were. There is a real sense in which this pandemic may well take us back to these roots. This in turn may well take us into a new season of expansion as we recover what it means for every believer to be a pastor.
So, Pastor Bob and Pastor Betty, how will you provide salt and light today? You are called, commissioned, and equipped. A dark and tasteless world needs you.
I will pastor my family, my neighborhood, my community, my workplace, and my world.
Our Father, thank you for our high calling to join you in your work. Thank you for this opportune season to be the church. Use us to take salt and light to our increasingly dark and tasteless world. Expand your family through ordinary people like us living what we say we believe in every domain of community life. Amen.
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Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. (CSB)
Isaiah 38:2, 3 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD. He said, “Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what pleases you.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (CSB)
Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD is waiting to show you mercy, and is rising up to show you compassion, for the LORD is a just God. All who wait patiently for him are happy. (CSB)