“I’m not getting fed.”
Given enough time, every pastor has heard this from some seemingly well-intended person who is frustrated by their lack of being “fed”.
When someone says “I’m not getting fed” it’s usually “church code” for “I’ve got a frustration with something or someone in the church.”
But the accusation voiced is pastoral malpractice. This allegation blames a pastor of starving a lamb through either sheer incompetence or willful negligence.
The problem is this: while it’s a pastor “job” (partly at least) to provide spiritual meals to you, we are each responsible to digest them and put them into our lives.
And nobody can do this for you.
Read what Paul told the Christians at Philippi in our ongoing journey through the New Testament letter of Philippians.
12 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.
Philippians 2:12-13, NIV
Why did the Philippian Christians obey the Lord? Because they understood that the life we’ve been given was provided at the expense of Jesus’ life. Problems come up when we try to live as Christians for someone else.
Think about it. I can’t feel for you. I can’t process information for you. I can’t be obedient to the speed limit laws for you. I can’t process your feelings for you.
Nobody else can grow spiritually for you. Not me. Not any other pastor. Not a family member. Not a spouse. Not a friend. Only you can do that for you.
Only you can “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (12b). Just as you have been growing in your faith on your spiritual journey in Jesus, so continue to do that: keep growing in your faith in Jesus. That’s what we’re reading here: don’t hit a spiritual plateau and decide you’ve grown enough.
And part of the proof of that working out of our salvation is in our relationship with others. While I don’t work out your salvation for you, I can’t pretend your life doesn’t affect me. Not at all!
When we get to Heaven, I want us all to get there together, dear Christians. No soldier left behind!
The Biblical mandate is responsibility for our own spiritual growth, but I am also responsible to you for my spiritual growth. Read that again slowly.
We are in this together, as brothers and sisters in Christ. Our “being fed” by pastors and Bible teachers is exaggerated by too many of us.
Perhaps the cause of Christ would be better served if we focused less on what “feeding” we may lack and focus more on actually putting into practice what we have already consumed.
I take responsibility for me. You take responsibility for you. I am responsible to you for me. And you are responsible to me for you.