When we look around at the world we live in, making Christian choices can be very hard. Wherever we look, it seems that people whose actions are not Christian are faring better than we are. We know the Bible tells us that Jesus is the way that is best, yet many who do not act Christian seem to have more of everything the world hails as "best."
I cannot speak for those who are not Christian in behavior to suggest that their lives are actually worse than a Christian life. I can only speak from my own experiences. My life as a secular businessman brought me a lot of money (ill spent and definitely in debt), travel (away from my family where I drank too much), and some fame (fleeting at best). By the world's standards I was successful. Yet, my life was a mess. When I found God had remained steadfast but I had not, I lost all that measured me as a success but came into a life of peace and service with others. Now my life doesn't seem a problem in any way. I would gladly go back and start over making the Christian life my life for those years I squandered seeking the rewards of the world.
I was fortunate to spend many years serving in a ministry called KAIROS, which takes God's Word into prisons around the world. I have seen powerful drug dealers choose beatings from their gang so that they might choose Christianity over crime for the remainder of their life. I have seen men face death and life imprisonment with dignity and peace because they chose to face the consequences of their bad choices by becoming Christians. I cannot say for them why they, at that time, chose a Christian life. I can say it appeared to me that they found something in Christianity that they couldn't get in the world.
If we make the mistake of comparing our lives with others who make more, do more, and have more, we might always feel as if we have come out second best or even last. But if we simply compare our life as Christians against our lives without Jesus, we can value ourselves more appropriately and understand why God wants us where we are and how we are. Try to make your life become a habit of doing right and avoiding wrong, a habit of putting others and self on an equal basis. Choosing God is never a bad choice. God is faithful when the world is not.
Not sure how you see the preacher who stands in your pulpit every Sunday, but I am going to give you one pastor's perspective on what it means to be the one in the pulpit.
A story my wife tells about her call to preach involves disbelief, worry and seeking council. The help given her was, "Don't do it until you can't do anything else." The pastor who told her this was saying that it must be a calling, not a career choice. Then she worried about her abilities and was given this advice, "God equips the called." Remember Moses? He tried to deny the call from a burning bush saying he was not a good speaker. God said, "OK take your brother Aaron with you to do the talking."
If one is called to be a pastor, preacher, and administrator within a congregation, one is not always prepared for the variety of tasks they must face (not the least of which is standing in front of a crowd trying to bring understanding to God's scriptures). I can attest to the fact that seminary doesn't teach it all either. Rather, being called to clerical ministry means that one is called to share in the responsibilities of being the Church. The work of the Church can be done by the laity without the pastor but it can never be done by the pastor without the laity. Paul had to offer his message in homes as often as he did in synagogues. He had no audience if the home owner didn't invite friends and family.
Back to standing in the pulpit on Sunday mornings. I don't know about other pastors but I know I have no special claim on "speaking for God". God doesn't write sermons and whisper in my ear. Rather, I listen to how the scriptures for the week speak to me. I then try and impart to the congregation what I may have learned in studying those scriptures. Then, I trust that the Holy Spirit takes the words I utter and changes them before they reach the inner ear of the listener. I know this happens because I have often been told, "I liked what you said about . . . " and then thought, "I didn't say that". God works the miracle of sermons, I don't. I just try to be faithful to my calling of trying to be my best when called upon to make connections between God and the world.
A pastor is not someone that is better in any way than the congregation. A pastor doesn't have a greater connection to God than anyone else. The pastor is just another lay person touched by the hand of God for a more specific part of the overall ministry. We have faults, troubles, aha moments, and tears of both joy and frustration - just like you.
As a pastor of some aging, I can honestly say that I find the music of the Church more uplifting than my own preaching. Don't get me wrong, I believe preaching of the Word is an important task. However, I find the music, along with the lyrical stories therein, touches a place in my spiritual self that listening to spoken words does not find.
As I prepare a worship layout for the first Congregational Hymn Sing of 2017, Sunday January 29th, I find the words of Ephesians 5:18-20 guiding me. The passage speaks of getting high on the Spirit of God rather than wine. (NIV), "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Giving thanks to God, making music from the heart, and sharing it with like-minded people in the congregation goes a long way to patching up the mistakes in my preaching (which is NOT happening during a 5th Sunday Hymn Sing).
Come and join us. Choir experience unnecessary. Get high in church without it being a sin.
Peace through Grace.