For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also. Hebrews 7, verse 12.
Oh my God…literally. Noodle this verse for awhile then consider the universe-altering implications of it. It’s a rhetorical argument, one that posits our tendencies as people.
Four days have passed since Mr. Trump was inaugurated as president of the US. In those four days, there have been four sunrises and three sunsets; another sunset should occur later today. No mere president can change that. Eight years have passed since Mr. Obama was inaugurated, sixteen since the second Mr. Bush, and twenty-four since Mr. Clinton. In all those times, whether we agreed with the political positions or not of those men, the world has kept on turning. Good and bad have taken place, and all four men have, in my humble opinion, done the best they could to deal with each.
You could say that same thing about each of us. Neither you nor I are the president, and we probably don’t make deals or even make decisions that have global impact. World leaders don’t await the next muttering from Dave Terry; God help them if I’m wrong about that. What anyone could say, world leader or not, is that I’ve usually tried to do my best. You and I, we generally try to do our best, make the best decisions we can with the information we have. We find ourselves in situations, we assess our available options, and we make the best decision we can based on what we know at the time. Sometimes it works out for the best, and we generally work to make sure this is so as much as we possibly can. Sometimes it doesn’t. Nearly all the time, if we honestly step back and look at ourselves, even though we’re sinners, we usually do the best we can.
Imagine if we didn’t. Imagine if, every time we made a decision, everything changed because of it. Some folks would say that’s what happens when a new president moves into the White House but it simply isn’t true. There are too many systemic and traditional checks on him to prevent any president from ruling like a king. When you get a new CEO, a few things change in the company, but generally she or he uses what’s at their disposal to move a company in a direction with the consent of the board. New pastors do the same thing in their congregations. New parents do the same thing with their young families. Sometimes that’s healthy in that new leadership can re-focus on morals or the common good after a group has strayed from it. Sometimes it’s just change for change’s sake, and that’s rarely good. Leaders usually do the best they can with what’s available to them at the time.
What happens when people don’t? If you get paid and spend all your money on marijuana and munchies, what do you do to pay your bills (or buy food other than Doritos)? If you base all your decisions on emotions, what do you do when your emotions quickly change (as they often do)? If you refuse to abide by the law, what happens when you’re caught? You know the answer to these things. We own the consequences. We get what’s coming to us. If we willingly decide to not give it our best, we get what we’re given accordingly. That’s no surprise.
Put on your clergy cap for a second and then consider your pastors. They’re sinners like anyone else. If they didn’t have the gospel of Jesus to guide them, all they’d be doing is preaching a bunch of worthless feel-good nonsense. On our own, every time a new pastor comes to the church – or a new father, CEO or president – the entire focus needs to change. Pastors are sinners too. They’re imperfect; they struggle. Without the forgiveness of Jesus, they’re just as damned as one who willingly turns his back on the Savior. If all your pastor does is float with the wind and minister based on what feels good, fire them.
With Jesus as their primary guide, none of that needs to happen. The political or corporate leader grounded in God and solid ethics will much better serve his constituents, and the president swears to uphold a Constitution written by moral, Godly founders. The parent who walks the Godly walk will serve as a better long-term example for their kids. The pastor who preaches the risen Christ has all he or she needs to build a God-centered church. Everything flows from Him and only Him. Anything less is, well, less. Are you satisfied with ‘less?’ If so, maybe you should ask yourself why.
Voters fire politicians who don’t perform. Companies fire CEOs who don’t perform. Parents who don’t perform as parents for their kids don’t get fired but trouble usually ensues at some point. All of it comes back to sin and how we deal with it. The way to deal with it is to first and always focus on Jesus and where you are in relation to Him at every moment. He hasn’t moved; He hasn’t changed. With Him, there is no need to throw out the old in favor of something new. He’s the reason for the priesthood because He is the ultimate priest of all time.
For further reading: Hebrews 7: 11-28
Lord Jesus, that You for being the center of everything. Thank You for being unchanging, for being our true priest and pastor, for being the only Savior.