Sometimes traditions obscure the light given in Scripture. From time to time I get calls from younger pastors who have faced what Marshall Shelley refers to as “well intentioned dragons.” These unwitting flame-throwers often lob thier WMD’s in the form of a tradition placed on par or above Scripture.
I recently had such a call from a younger pastor. It seems a deacon in his church was doing his job. Not content that he was doing his job, he thought the pastor ought to follow in behind him and do his – the deacon’s – job too. This suggestion was given without regard nor sensitivity to the past few weeks when said pastor was preparing for his third funeral in three weeks, been in and out of various hospital rooms and other homes. The same pastor has not only done his job but also the job of a youth minister all summer long. When these small details were offered they fell short in satisfying the sinister flame-thrower.
My simple retort – offer a copy of the Scriptures (any translation will do) and suggest flame retardent attire be warn for the next encounter. The incendiary devices will be deflected by the Scriptures which reveal a deacon doing his job enables a pastor to perform his with greater care and intention. Should the well intentioned dragon come to do battle another day, he should beware lest his own flaming arrows fall on himself and burn his tradition to the ground.
If said pastor reads this post, may he find more encouragement to hide in the Scriptures so as to avoid the flames.