When I got the call, I was confused, hurt, angry. Someone had called the Division of Family Services and claimed that I had been neglectful of a foster child under our care. The toddler had touched a hot stove, like any child could do. What was a very minor situation was reported as a 3rd degree burn, and even though I wasn’t home at the time, it was claimed that the situation happened under my supervision. In fact, it was even implied that I had done this intentionally. How could someone say this? Don’t they know how much I love these kids? Don’t they know I’m pouring my life out for them? Why would they so aggressively assault my character and reputation?
These were all the thoughts running through my mind. That is, until I got a text message from a member of our church. My wife had phoned his wife and told her the story. He texted me to give me some encouragement. Very simply, he said these words:
Remember, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matt. 5:11-12
It has only been a few months since we studied that verse from Matthew 5. I hate to say it, but it never crossed my mind; I was too busy thinking about how I was treated unfairly. But when I read his words, a flood of peace overcame me. Jesus promised that people would utter all kinds of evil against us on His account. Instead of throwing a pity party, he calls us to rejoice! Why? Because even as our reputation is being assaulted, our reward is secure. Persecution only confirms and reminds us that the ultimate treasure is waiting for us in heaven.
You might think that your relationship with your pastor is all one-sided. He leads you, teaches you, shepherds you, visits you, and then during pastor appreciation month you send him a Hallmark card. Have you ever considered that your pastor needs to be pastored, and that often times God will do that through you? My friend who sent me this text isn’t a pastor or small group leader. He’s just a dude that loves Jesus, loves people, and believes the Bible. But in his pastor’s time of self-pity and doubt, he knew exactly how to pastor me. Your pastor may seem like the Bible answer man, but he doesn’t know as much as you think. He’s forgetful, and at times he’s even faithless. Who is going to pastor your pastor? Maybe you are . . .
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (Col. 3:16)