Pastoral Tensions

My reading plan brought me two verses this morning that highlight a tension pastors must maintain. The first is Paul’s well-known call to proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ:

But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” —Romans 10:14-15

That’s the pastor’s job. It’s what people come for on Sunday. It’s in our job-title: Minister of Word and Sacrament. That’s what I need to focus on.

Except…. Every day I also read a chapter of Proverbs, and today this jumped out at me:

Know well the condition of your flocks,
and give attention to your herds
Proverbs 27:23

It’s not enough for a pastor simply to proclaim Jesus. You have to proclaim him in a way that people can experience as Good News. And to do that, you have to know the condition of your flocks.