Over recent weeks I have been reflecting on the incredible responsibility that each of us have entrusted to us to proclaim the saving message of God’s love and salvation to the staff, students and families in our care.
If we were to consider Luther’s definition of a priest, we are all priests because we are believers in Christ; by God’s grace we are priests. When believers minister Christ’s grace and seek God’s will in whatever they do, they are doing priestly service. We therefore are priests in this sense because we represent God’s specific care for people through the teaching of the gospel. Whether or not we are presented with direct opportunities to teach the Christian faith or lead devotions, we all will have the opportunity to witness and model the Christian life in our day to day interactions with others. The love, service, obedience, forgiveness, compassion, humility and honesty we demonstrate to others will testify to our ministry.
When this occurs, Christian love is in action. This is the real essence of pastoral care within our learning communities.
Each of us, by virtue of our positions and roles have opportunity to positively influence the culture of our respective communities. There will be times when we will be sorely tested and we will be prone to be less forgiving or compassionate, however, I and you need to remember that God never gives up on us so we should not give up on others. Having said this, every member of our communities needs to take responsibility for their words and actions. In the absence of such, individuals need to be held accountable. They have free will; and there will be times when they will make choices that result in decisions that are in contradiction to the ethos and beliefs of our respective communities and the Church. In these instances, we act firmly but fairly. This may be perceived by some as not being ‘Christian’, but we should not and cannot shy away from holding people accountable for choices they make.
We are witnesses to Jesus when we acknowledge “I can do nothing on my own authority; I judge only as God tells me, so my judgment is right, because I am not trying to do what I want, but only what he who sent me wants.’’ John 5:30
When we honestly can bring our self to say, “God, may your will be done in this. Show me clearly what you want me to do,” we are well on our way to finding the answer.
The Bible deals with literally hundreds of situations that provide clear moral guidance for us today. At the risk of sounding like this is an oversimplification, I believe God’s Word gives direction in either statement or principle for every decision we will have to make in life, provided we are willing to apply the principles to issues facing us today.
May God continue to abundantly bless you in every aspect of your work and service and thereby the culture and fabric of your respective communities.