More than a few will judge me for revealing that I am a Tom Clancy fan. So be it.
The original books were filled with so much submarine tech and knowledge that, as the son of an ex-navy medic, I always found them fascinating. Before Clancy died, he and his books had become a cottage industry, with many writers and movie moguls picking up where the original writer left off and writing new story lines for a younger Jack Ryan. Amazon Prime is starting their fourth season with the character, this time starring John Krasinski as the main character. Last season ended with a Russian spy writing a letter to Jack, thanking him for helping to avert another crisis all the while knowing that he himself was about to be killed by the Russian powers that had him in their cross hairs. Jack reads the letter, with the voice over of the Russian spy being marched off to death. Here’s the letter.
“Jack, we have done our jobs, and done them well.
This fight was passed down to us and will continue on
with or without us.
But we will always be better than the institutions we serve.
And that is what matters, when it matters most.
There are no heroes in our profession.
Men who act on what is right,
not just what they are told.
I’ve not always lived my life with honor.
But perhaps, I have done enough to die with it.
I hope the same for you.”
It’s that fourth and fifth line I want to focus on.
“But we will always be better
than the institutions we serve.
And that is what matters,
when it matters most.”
Many Pastors Leave Their Churches with Similar Thoughts
Particularly, those pastors that are forced out of their positions for less than biblical reasons or because of internal power plays by leaders who simply have a different philosophy of ministry or perspective on the role of a pastor. Every pastor loves the Church universal and we also love the local churches that we have opportunity to serve. But we also know that the Church universal and any of our local churches are flawed. How could it be otherwise? We ourselves are deeply flawed as are all of the congregants from which the church is built and which the church serves for the glory of God.
But we also know other insidious realities. One is that all institutions, be they secular or sacred, are prone to corruption over time. Institutions, unfortunately, over time, work to protect the institution more than the people to whom they are supposed to protect and serve. Our hope, our prayer, should always be that we will be “better than the institutions we serve.” And yet, we must remember always, that we serve the Church, we serve the people of God, it is not the church or the people who serve us.
Remembering that we serve God and the church and that the church does not exist to serve us is the best way to compost the dross of our lives—to take the pride and desire for recognition and every thought of self and throw them on the compost heap and let God break it all down to produce good soil in us from which He can grow beautiful things for His glory. After all, that is what are lives are dedicated to. Let us press on to the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14). Do good and disappear. He must increase, we must decrease (John 3:30). It is hard to imagine that the increase could come without the decrease.
One thought on “Many Pastors Leave Their Churches with Similar Thoughts”
If you liked watching John Krasinski, Tom Clancy’s CIA agent Jack Ryan, and are looking forward to seeing the final season or even Henry Cavill in Winston Churchill’s Ministry for Ungentlemanly Warfare, read about a real ungentlemanly spy on the run. His name is Bill Fairclough (MI6 Codename JJ) aka Edward Burlington.
In real life Bill Fairclough was recruited by Colonel Alan Pemberton CVO MBE (MI6). Pemberton’s People in MI6 were genuine ungentlemanly heroes and even included self-confessed silent killers and Churchill’s bodyguard. For more about them do see the News Article dated 31 October 2022 in TheBurlingtonFiles website. It’s called Pemberton’s People, Ungentlemanly Officers & Rogue Heroes. By the way, Bill Fairclough is the protagonist in the factual stand-alone spy thriller Beyond Enkription, the first novel to be published in TheBurlingtonFiles series.