I will begin this article by relating to you “why I am raising the question” in this blog. In a recent comment written by an anonymous contributor he or she said this:
“You will find that the politics and favoritism will prevail…..These pastors are like every human on earth……Selfish, looking out for number one! It will not get better until Jesus says so. “Giving it a rest” does not mean not doing anything. And what with the reveal yourself plea? All you cowards are hiding, but you want me to reveal! Laughable! So you can take me to the nearest tree and hang me? None of you are converted! I have been around and I have firsthand experience that none are kind, no not one.” Anonymous August 19, 2011 at 5:29 pm:
A scathing reply written by another contributor, “Back Field In Motion”, seemed to be perplexed by some of anonymous’ remarks. You can read the entire sequence of comments by other contributors under the title, “Thoughtless Thinking Part two”.
The reason for the title of this blog comes because I have assumed the Forgotten Shepherdess’s blog is an opinion forum. Therefore, I write so that others can weigh-in on anonymous’ opinionated assertion that there is a “trend of selfishness” among ministers. You, the reader, I hope will express your view on such a bold assertion.
To address this question, I now turn your attention to look at what “selfishness” means. Selfish defined means:
Looking after own desires: concerned with your own interests, needs, and wishes while ignoring those of others and, demonstrating it by showing that their needs and wishes are thought to be more important than those of other people.”
A selfish man/woman is one who acts for his/her own sake – one whose actions are directed to benefit oneself. I would quickly summarize it by: “I am doing this for me”.
In an article written on Thursday, February 18, 2010, entitled, “What is Selfishness?” posted by Ifat Glassman, he looked at selfishness from a psychological point of view. He says:
“This, however, is not as simple as it sounds. What constitutes doing something “for yourself?” Is it gratification of emotions, regardless of their source? Is it pursuit of some end, regardless of the nature? Is a man driven by chronic anxiety, trying to destroy other people’s happiness a “selfish b…”? (http://ifat-glassman.blogspot.com/2010/02/what-is-selfishness.html (you can go to this website and read an entire great article on this subject about selfishness and it’s psychology)
My investigation has found that a quest to find the meaning of selfishness might be more difficult than what you can imagine as “Dolemite” mentioned in his comment. An understanding of this subject reveals that we should be careful about referring to someone as selfish until you know their true inner motives.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE REVEAL?
For those who want a biblical twist you might consider these interesting characteristics and corresponding texts from the bible:
BEING LOVERS OF OURSELVES.
2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Romans 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
SEEKING OUR OWN.
1 Corinthians 10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
Philippians 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.
SEEKING AFTER GAIN.
Isaiah 56:11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.
SEEKING UNDUE PRECEDENCE.
Matthew 20:21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.
LIVING TO OURSELVES.
2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
NEGLECT OF THE POOR.
1 John 3:17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seethe his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
SERVING GOD FOR REWARD.
Malachi 1:10 Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the LORD of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand.
PERFORMING DUTY FOR REWARD.
Micah 3:11 The heads thereof judge for reward, and the priests thereof teach for hire, and the prophets thereof divine for money: yet will they lean upon the LORD, and say, Is not the LORD among us? none evil can come upon us.
INCONSISTENT WITH CHRISTIAN LOVE.
1 Corinthians 13:5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Examining the above scriptural characteristics we could say, that yes, “some” ministers are selfish as well as “other people” in general. This depends on whether they fit into the definition of what a selfish person might be. To make this determination you might consider asking yourself, “Am I being Judgmental or prejudicial? An opinion may have been shaped because of a bad experience with some ministers you had a negative encounter with. Consequently, if you believe as “Anonymous” stated, you may have unfairly corralled all ministers as selfish. We should keep in mind that ministers are humans like other “living” people on this planet.
Here’s My Point Of View
I would have to admit that some ministers personify the perception that they are all about their image and the next upward career move. For some, it seems to consume them (Watch “some” of them Frat Brothers). However, the majority of the men and women are dedicated to the service of Jesus Christ. They have worked hard in this field of service regardless of not receiving a raise in recent years (Give them a great round of applause).
Believe it or not they show up for the job even when they are underpaid—when their salaries are compared to other denominational workers with the same education. They spend long hours preparing sermons, visiting the sick and doing 150 other job descriptions members expect—which have been published in ministerial journals.
The occupation of ministry is considered as part remunerated and part sacrifice. Most of the ministers realize that they may never become wealthy or even well off on the salary they earn. Some have been slapped, knocked down, spit on, chased down by vicious dogs, held up at gun point, disrespected at board and business meetings, cars keyed, jailed, utilities turned off because of lack of money, children neglected by church members and the list can continue to grow. Yet, they remain dedicated to their church community assigned to them. We might throw in all the “forgotten shepherdesses” around the conference who are over looked who are partners with their husband’s ministry.
Some members can start a community service project to “save the dogs” rather than a ministry to save their pastor. In my church I have seen members vote to give a thousand dollars out of the church funds to pay someone’s past due rent rather than give an appreciation to their pastor. Are we as church members selfish when it comes to ministers who care for our well being? I am told that some time ago a minister received less than a hundred dollars for appreciation after a long tenure of good service. Is this selfish on the part of the church who may have given far more to those who could not pay their rent?
I feel sorry for many ministers and instead of calling them selfish I see them even more as dedicated. So forget the squabbling at constituency meetings and give them a “BREAK.”
It’s important that you weigh-in on this issue. I would like to read your opinions. Please feel at liberty to list some helpful solutions or advice.
I LOVE MY PASTOR