Young pastors often approach their new job messianically.
Perhaps I should rephrase: As a young pastor, I approached my new job messianically.
I viewed my role as “He who fixes messed up people.”
I felt as though one should run before me at all times announcing, “Hark all ye messed up folk! Behold, he who can fix you.”
Funny thing happened on the way to fixing people: I realized I was messed up.
Fixing myself, although in my moments of sanity I’d admit was necessary, I still viewed others as more messed up. Certainly that counted for something.
I realized that my desire to fix others was nothing but an avoidance of fixing myself. If I can fix others, this proves how together I have things.
As I began to attempt fixing people, it didn’t work. In fact, it went horribly wrong. Through a series of events, I was confronted with just me and my messed upness. I had no alternative but to fix myself.
I also noted there weren’t many verses about fixing people! Yes, there were some about pulling people from the fire, about saving a soul from sin, about giving a warning, about teaching people to obey God’s Word, and a few about being edifying.
But no, not any about fixing people. It’s not my job to fix people. People are not my projects. My “ministry” is not based on how many people I deemed “fixed.” Instead I began to see that I should rejoice that my name was written in heaven. All this was freeing and good. . . but . . .
since I’m human, I took this to an erroneous extreme. I got on a big “I can’t fix people kick.” I ignored people and their problems. What do you want me to do? I can’t fix anyone anyway. Go home and work it out, pal.
But I continued to double-check my conclusion and saw some other verses. For instance, Ephesians 4 says God has gifted the church with spiritually equipped people, one of whom is the pastor teacher. When these gifts are used properly, it leads to the perfecting of the saints.
“Perfecting” is a word that can mean “to set a bone.” In other words, a pastor has been spiritually gifted to fix and mend what was broken.
Uh-oh! Now what? Do I fix people or not?
Well, here’s what I have figured out so far, and this is subject to change as time and learning continue:
Yes and no. There is a time to “fix” people. There is a time to rend and a time to sew.
But, the answer is also no. I’m not the fixer, but I know Someone who is: The Great Physician.
Any attempt to fix people is only done by bringing people to Christ. I can’t fix. And if I am credited with fixing someone, my pride will merely turn that into something gross that will warp me and eventually break me, which then will lead to me breaking others.
I am an earthen jar that can dispense living water! The credit goes to the water, not to the jar. The jar can’t fix; the contents of the jar can.
The power to fix does not lie with me, my words, my counsel, my wisdom, my charm, nor my charisma. Thank God.
The power to fix is when I bring people to Christ and allow His Spirit to work in people, including me.
In the end we need to avoid two extremes:
1) Behold the awesomeness that is me, the Great White Father who can fix you all, and
2) Hey, I can’t do nothing for ya man, I got problems of my own.
Neither are consistent with Scripture. Instead know that all Spirit-indwelt believers have become ministers of reconciliation. What a privilege! But the job is not to get people to you; the job is to help them get to Christ.