Shepherd’s Care: Bulls or Blessings?

We’re exploring the personhood of clergy.  Most of us have lived long enough to have met pastors who were “bulls” and those who were “blessings.”  The question is what makes us one or the other?

The answer is—Christ.

He is the model for our ministry, both in terms of character and conduct.  The fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit both take their definition from him.  It is as we live “in Christ” that we come to understand ourselves as we are meant to be.

“Bulls” are those who have stepped outside of Christ and are allowing their egos to reign.  And egotism only allows for one thing:  “winning.”  When the ego does not win, it pouts—or worse—it condemns.  It turns congregants into “stupid people” who wouldn’t know God’s will if it hit them in the face.  Egotism creates “bulls,” and a lot of breakage happens as they move around the china shop.

“Blessings,” on the other hand, are those who have stepped into Christ and are allowing him to reign through love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  When Christ does not win, it makes for tears, not temper tantrums.  Christlikeness turns congregants into friends and fellow workers, members together of Christ’s body.  Christ creates “blessings,” and a lot of ministry happens as clergy serve in Jesus’ name.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
This entry was posted in Shepherd's Care. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Shepherd’s Care: Bulls or Blessings?

  1. Margot says:

    Good Morning Pastor Steve —

    From your lips to God’s ear! May we be held fast in the tender embrace of Jesus. As I interact with clergy around the area, I feel that cynicism is the “destruction that wastes at noonday.” (Ps 91:6) It is a symptom of giving up and giving in to circumstances: human indifference and hostility, loss and disappointment.

    We are all first of all children of God and members of his household. May we all remain vulnerable and tenderhearted. (Eph 4:31-32) Long-suffering is a gift, as you say.


Comments are closed.