At the moment there are some people in my extended world who I am watching making some pretty interesting decisions. As I have pastored for over 20 years (officially) I have spent a lot of my life watching people make decisions and then observing the consequences of these decisions . I am a professional people watcher !
I have celebrated with many people who have enjoyed success and joy from those decisions. I have also watched some pretty spectacular crashes, and sometimes been privileged to help people pick up the pieces and rebuild.
(I have also been in both those categories. I know I have often caused people to scratch their heads in bewilderment at some of the decisions I have made.)
Right now though, when I think about a few people I know in particular who are making decisions that I can see will not end well for them, I feel incredibly concerned for them.
I want to help them avoid mistakes I have made. I want to rush in and give them lots of wisdom and advice and I want them to change the direction they are going in. I have seen these patterns too many times, and lived these patterns, to know that they can be avoided. I want to fix these situations before any more damage is done.
However at Easter, more than any other time, I need to know there is only one Saviour. His name is Jesus, and he did not resign and give me the job.
My responsibility is to pray, to support and help where it is asked for, but it is not not to be their Saviour. I cannot take responsibility for another person’s life.
I cannot jump into that sacred place between a believer and their God.
I have to remember that each person’s life is a journey of making decisions. It is part of the joy of being human, made in the image of God. It is what theologians call free will. For believers it is a journey of walking with the Holy Spirit to make those decisions.
As a pastors and leaders we can so easily get saviour complexes. Our care can become a burden we were never meant to carry.
We need to pray, believe and love people but ultimately we need to let Jesus be their Saviour.
He is the only one with shoulders broad enough to carry that load for all humanity.
At Easter I am so grateful that Jesus is Lord and Saviour of all!
The job of Saviour of the World, was and is, His to do. How magnificently he fulfils that purpose.
Happy Easter Everyone!
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Painting by Phil Pringle used with permission. http://philpringle.com/artstudio