William Barclay, in his commentary on the Gospel of Luke (1975:42-44), records three temptations that pastors face which are parallel to the three temptations of Jesus. Pastors are tempted:
1. To bribe people with meeting their physical needs.
2. To compromise for pragmatism – the end justifies the means.
3. To give people sensations and shows.
I agree that all three are temptations in pastoral ministry, and many churches and pastors around the world have succumbed to such temptations.
I would however, slightly change the first. Jesus wasn’t tempted to make bread for others, but for Himself. It was a temptation to meet His own physical needs. Pastors face this temptation all the time. How many of us have heard this whispered in our ear: “Your private life doesn’t matter. Image is everything. Do what you want behind closed doors. Nobody is going to see. What you do in private does not effect who you are in public.”
Or, we assert our personal rights: “I have a right to eat and take care of myself. I prove my manhood by my rights. As a leader, I have rights to certain privileges, a certain salary, a certain level of respect.” Such things are not wrong; but they are not rights either.
So those are some of the temptations that pastors face. The way we combat them is by recognizing that as followers of Jesus, we have no rights. He surrendured His rights, and in following Him, we surrender ours as well.
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