1638) Seeking the Perfect Pastor

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This little piece has appeared in many different forms in many different places.  It is a real ‘oldie, but goodie,’ and you have probably already seen it.  I have run across it many times, and it is always fun to read.  This is how it appeared in a 1992 Dear Abby column:

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     Dear Abby:  One of the toughest tasks a church faces is choosing a good minister.  A member of an official board undergoing this painful process finally lost patience.  He had watched the pastoral relations committee reject applicant after applicant for some fault, alleged or otherwise.  It was time for a bit of soul-searching on the part of the committee.  So he stood up and read a letter purporting to be from another applicant.

Gentlemen: Understanding your pulpit is vacant, I should like to apply for the position.  I have many qualifications.  I have been a preacher with much success and also have had some success as a writer.  Some say I am a good organizer.  I’ve been a leader most places I`ve been.  I am over 50 years of age.  I have never preached in one place for more than three years.  In some places, I have left town after my work caused riots and disturbances.  I must admit I have been in jail three or four times, but not because of any real wrongdoing.  My health is not too good, though I still get a great deal done.  I have not gotten along well with religious leaders in towns where I have preached.  I am not too good at keeping records.  I have been known to forget whom I baptized.  However, if you can use me, I shall do my best for you.

 The board member looked over the committee. “Well, what do you think?  Shall we call him?”

     The good church folks were aghast.  Call an unhealthy, trouble-making, absentminded ex-jailbird? Was the board member crazy?  Who signed the application?  Who has such colossal nerve?

     The board member eyed them all keenly before he answered, “It’s signed, The Apostle Paul.

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II Corinthians 12:7b-10  —  (Paul wrote), “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.  Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”   Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I Corinthians 2:2b-5  —  (Paul wrote), “When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”

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Martin Luther’s Sacristy Prayer:

Lord God, you have appointed me as a Pastor in your Church, but
you can see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a task.  If I had
lacked Your help, I would have ruined everything long ago.  Therefore, I
call upon you. I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to you.  I shall
teach the people.  I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon your Word.
 Use me as your instrument.  But do not forsake me, for if ever I should
be on my own, I would easily wreck it all.  Amen.