Today the Church commemorates Gregory the Great, Pastor. Ephesians 3:1-13 is part of the readings appointed for today in The Treasury of Daily Prayer, published by Concordia Publishing House. We reflect today on God’s gift of pastors.
–By Deaconess Elizabeth Ahlman
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of His power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that He has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in Him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory (Ephesians 3:1-13 ESV).
Sometimes, in the day to day of life, the Word of God fades into the background behind getting the kids off to school, getting ourselves in to work, taking care of that paperwork for the insurance company, preparing meals for ourselves and our families, and so much more. The temptation then is to put so much pressure on ourselves — to “be in the Word.” To take a moment to “spend time with God.” To make God’s Word a law, rather than a gift. But thanks be to God that in this day to day life, we are not alone. We do not struggle to seek God’s Word all by ourselves, we do not even have to “get there” on our own. Why? The Lord has sent His servants, like Paul and Gregory, to teach us, prepare us, equip us, give us God’s Word, show us God’s graciousness to us in Christ Jesus.
The gift of pastors to His people is a great gift indeed. For as Paul reminds, our pastors preach to us and to all people “the unsearchable riches of Christ.” They proclaim that God in Christ is for us! Our pastors equip and strengthen us through Word and Sacrament for every day life. Through the liturgy, they instill the Word of God into our very beings, such that we cannot help but have the Lord’s Prayer at the forefront of our minds as we drive to work; the Sanctus plays on our lips as we change the baby’s diaper and ponder the gifts of God. The hymns from this past Sunday become our lullabies or get stuck on a loop in our heads. Words from the reading float back to the forefront of our minds as we confront something in the day to day which reminds us of them. When a friend asks what we believe, the words of the Creeds guide our confession. As our pastors form and shape us through proclamation, liturgy and corporate prayer, the Word of God does not “fade into the background,” rather, it is woven into the tapestry of our lives, inextricably linked to us and our every day. It is woven into the mad dash to pack lunches, it is woven into the 10 minute shower where we have quiet and solitude, it is woven into the preparation of meals, the paperwork for the insurance company.
And when we feel it slipping away, we return again to our pastors for spiritual aid. Through counseling, prayer, Sunday morning worship, the Holy Supper, a remembrance of our Baptisms and more, our pastors weave the Word into our lives, so that we — and all people — may always know “the unsearchable riches of Christ.”
Let us Pray: Almighty and merciful God, You raised up Gregory of Rome to be a pastor to those who shepherd God’s flock and inspired him to send missionaries to preach the Gospel to the English people. Preserve in Your Church the catholic and apostolic faith that Your people may continue to be fruitful in every good work and receive the crown of glory that never fades away; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Taken from The Treasury of Daily Prayer, pg. 687).
- You can still read last week’s devotion.
- Pray for all pastors and missionaries as they proclaim the Gospel, aid in mercy and serve the people entrusted to their care.