Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Pope Francis and Your Pastor

I'm not Catholic.  My Grandma Ray was a Roman Catholic, but I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church and now attend a Baptist General Conference church.  While I'm not a Roman Catholic, I was intrigued again by the selection process that brought Pope Francis to the Papacy.  I also am interested in the many traditions of the church and the significance of these traditions that so many hold dear.

In reading about Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) I am very impressed by his character.  I see great promise in where he will lead the Roman Catholic Church.  But what caught my eye the most is what he did in his first address to the crowd standing in Vatican Square.  Rather than giving a blessing to the people, he asked them to pray for him.  I found this to be incredibly humble and wise.

Pope Francis has accepted the burden of leading the Roman Catholic Church and he wisely sensed the weight of the burden and his desperate need for the prayers of the people.

Paul wrote about this burden in 2 Corinthians chapter 11.  He wrote about being whipped, beaten with rods, stoned, shipwrecked, constantly on the move, suffering sleepless nights, hunger pains, and nakedness.  He wrote about all these sufferings, but then he wrote this:

"Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches."  2 Corinthians 11:28

Paul had all sorts of burdens but the most heavy was his concern for the churches.  Pope Francis has that same concern today and wisely asked for prayer.

"But I'm not Catholic, Matt."

Being in pastoral ministry is hard.  It is a joy and a burden simultaneously.  Pastors feel the pain and concerns of those under their care, and some times that burden weighs them down into fits of depression and extreme anxiety.  The man who says on Sunday, "Cast all your anxieties on Him for He cares for you" is the same man who feels like he's drowning in worry on Monday.

I write this to inspire you to pray for your pastor(s).  These men, and sometimes women, have a heavy burden and like Pope Francis they need your prayers.  Pray for your pastor today.

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