A Message to My Fellow Clergy


2 Samuel 14:21-33Acts 21:15-26Mark 10:17-31

Usually my Morning Reflections are geared to “my flock” (i.e. those in my congregation, those in my presbytery under my care, etc.).  Today, I shift to a different gear.

Today I talk to my minister friends and colleagues: Don’t let Donald Trump get you down.  Don’t give one person the power to manipulate and destroy your day.  No one should have that power.  I see many of you on Twitter: grieving, freaking out, organizing.  Others might say it is over-functioning.  Let’s pause.  Let’s focus on that which is most important.

I mean, I understand what you are doing…you are challenging your people.  You are working for them to deepen their theology and become engaged – to have folks inwardly digest God’s Word and put it into action.  And that is frankly something we should all be doing more.  But I would urge you to turn off Twitter for a few days.  Unplug from FB.  Turn off the news.

Our chief concern as clergy is developing relationships, reaching out to those in need, loving our flock, and connecting them to God’s Word.  And that can happen with a simple hospital visit.  It can happen in Bible study.  It doesn’t need to be rally or a march against hysteria.

Some of us have fallen into the same things we accused the other side of the aisle of being guilty of.  And I can see their point, because some of us are looking hysterical, unhinged, and frankly sleep deprived.

I turned to our Mark passage today and discovered one of the major themes of all of scripture: God will turn things on its head.  Here, the rich will become poor, the ones with power will have little power, the poor will be raised up, etc., etc.

Today this theme takes the form of the rich young man who comes to Jesus asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. After telling him a litany of commandments, which he declares he has followed, Jesus answers with, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me”

Unable to do so, the rich young man leaves grieving.

In Job and Proverbs and many other places in Scripture we find that wealth jeopardizes spiritual health and is looked at with much disdain.  This may come as a great shock to many Americans who strive for money and power.

How wonderful if today we could remind our flocks of this remarkable major theme of scripture.  Talk about good medicine!  I am guessing there are many who have never realized this theme, thinking that money and power is the point, the barometer of success.

We don’t have to talk about politics today with our scripture readings, because our flocks are smart people who can make the connection without us overtly doing it today.  Money corrupts.  Yes it does.  Leaving it at that is alright.

Rest in this my clergy friends: Our God is a God of justice.  The psalms declare time and time again that those who flaunt God’s law will get their just reward.  In order to find God’s blessing, one must have priorities straight, putting people first.

At other points in scripture we see how great wealth can be a blessing and a vehicle of God’s grace or God’s wrath, but this is not the message we get from Jesus.  He is emphatic that money corrupts spiritual health.  He demands that our priority must be to follow him.  All else, it seems, is secondary.

Let’s remind our people of that today.

And let’s forget about Donald and the whole Washington crew.  And just for one day, let’s focus on those in our midst and not worry about all the rest.

– Matt

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