For the first time in 600 years, the pope is resigning.
I’m not really familiar with the work of Pope Benedict, but I admire this decision. He has chosen to break tradition and step out of the spotlight in order to seek what he feels is best for his church and his faith. This is a gift, an act of sacrifice and graciousness, and it’s something that more of us in the church should seek to emulate.
It’s biblical teaching (as well as common sense) that everybody has different skills and gifts, which means that we aren’t all suited for every job in the church. Wouldn’t it make everyone’s life easier if each of us could currently look at what we are doing (or being asked to do) and discern if we are suited for that role? If we aren’t, then we should follow Pope Benedict’s lead and say, “I can’t do this like I should, someone else should be doing it instead.”
This applies to the member who wants to be a ruling elder because it’s an honored authority position even though he has no gifts for leadership. And then there’s the wonderful saint of the church who has been teaching 3rd grade Sunday School for 30 years even though her love for it gave out ten years ago, but she’s worried that no one else will step up if she doesn’t volunteer.
Let’s not forget those ministers straight out of seminary who feel they have to prove their worth ten times over, and so they say ‘yes’ to everything that’s asked of them and every opportunity that presents itself. And how about the ministers at the end of their careers who are afraid to admit to themselves that they don’t have the drive for transformation or the connection with members (especially younger) that they used to, but they figure hanging on in their current position until retirement isn’t really hurting the church that much.
Everybody is talented and gifted, but each in our own way, so we need to be discerning where, and where not to, best use our gifts.
God bless you Pope Benedict.