04 August 2016

I have always appreciated

this little bit from Loehe's Three Books on the Church, particularly the parts I've bolded:

From its knowledge of human nature it knows that men will sooner open their hearts to the truth when it is gladly but sparingly imparted than when they hear its voice speaking constantly.  Therefore it understands how to give people enough of its means but not too much.  It does not consider it an insult, nor is it eager to interpret it as an insult, when someone says, “This pastor thinks it is enough if he preaches, catechizes, administers the sacraments, hears confessions, and comforts the sick!”  It knows that even the most faithful pastors do not do enough of this.  It has little use for multiplying pastoral duties but treasures those which are commanded in the Scriptures and have been recognized since ancient times.  To many people it is something novel that a man should not be a jack of many trades but a master of the few precious means, yet this is what the church has always thought.  In a word, it accomplishes much through a few means. …

It is enough, and more than enough, if a man just carries out the ancient duties of a pastor.  Superfluous and even a hindrance is the officiousness of modern pastors.  Here the slogan should be, “Not many, but much.”  The poverty of our fathers is richer than the wealth of their opponents.  It is through alternating periods of withdrawal and public appearance, stillness and publicity, through persistent use of Word and sacrament, through giving of a quiet but full measure, through modesty and steadfastness that the Lutheran church attains its goals.

Pastors need to be encouraged in this regard, because there are always voices suggesting that they're wasting their time if they are not doing X, and X signifies something OTHER than working on sermons or instruction, administering the sacraments, hearing confessions and visiting the sick and homebound. Parishes that have a pastor that devotes himself to those duties know what a blessing from God they have received; but it doesn't hurt to remind your pastor that you are blessed that he focuses on what God has given him to do and doesn't make up other busyness of his own or accept other busyness from busybodies.

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