Full-time Pastor but only Part-time Follower of Jesus

Although this was the title of an article directed to pastors printed in Leadership Journal, I thought this is an important topic to bring forth. As a pastor doing pastoral service as a job, I can fall in the trap of becoming a part-time follower of Jesus. Looking good from the outside, doing all the pastoral duties I have been assigned, I am vulnerable to become empty inside. How long one can continue to be a pastor, an elder, or a leader without being really fed?
Lately we finished our walk through Peter’s 1st Letter. In the 5th chapter, Peter encouraged the elders to be shepherds of the flock.
“To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder… be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be”(1,2). One of the most important tasks of a shepherd is to feed his flock. As elders, as Sunday school teachers, as leaders in the church, we need to feed our flock with the Word of God. But we cannot do this unless we are fed ourselves. Three times Jesus asked Peter, “Do you love me?” After hearing his positive response, Jesus commanded, “Feed my sheep.”
Full-time “Christian” and part-time follower of Jesus is a deceiving concept. It is like the fig tree which has big green leaves, but no fruit. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is in 1st Samuel. “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (16:7).
As you see in the picture, there is mask covering the face of the person. The outside appearance is deceiving, but whatever is happening in the heart matters to God. God looks at your heart.

May God lead you to renew your commitment to be “a full-time follower of Jesus.” This means Jesus is real in your daily life. T his means you glorify His name in your daily decisions. This coming five weeks we are preparing us as a church to walk with Jesus in his steps to Calvary. As we look forward to Palm Sunday and Easter may our path to the cross take us towards a new commitment in being his genuine and full-time followers.

Rev. Nerses Balabanian,
Calvary Armenian Congregational Church, San Francisco