I Have Set a Watchman


by Rosie Adle

A person who receives a diagnosis from a doctor can be thankful for it. While no one wants to hear that he’s diseased, it is usually far better to know than to go on without that knowledge.

Then there are tax preparers. It’s a bummer when a person hears she owes more money to the government, but without that information the debt would only grow. No lasting good comes of not knowing, and there’s potential for great harm in such ignorance.

It isn’t right to dislike the doctor or the accountant for correctly identifying and communicating a disease or deficiency. It would be irresponsible for a doctor or accountant to pretend that everything is cool if it’s not.

We hear from our pastor that we are sinners. Our sin is real and it’s a problem, and without repentance and forgiveness our situation will get worse. Being the messenger with that memo isn’t easy.

The prophet Ezekiel was told:

“So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand” (Ezek. 33:7-8).

That’s tough stuff right there.

Pastors are accountable to the Lord. Their ordination vows are serious and quite heavy. Our pastors are called to minister, that is, to serve. Pastors would do us all a terrible disservice to pretend that everyone is fine.

We are sick. We are beggars. We are sinners. Our pastors tell us this bad news so that we see our disease and deficiencies. We don’t like hearing it. It’s so important though. Then our pastors also tell us the Good News. Christ is our Great Physician. He has paid everything we owe. The Good News is for those who need it. It’s for those who aren’t fine without it. That would be all of us.

Thank you for watching out for me, Pastor! Thanks for the bad news, and thanks for the Good News! I needed that!

Deaconess Rosie Adle is an online instructor for the distance deaconess program of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN.

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4 Responses to I Have Set a Watchman

  1. April 26, 2016 at 1:14 pm #

    That is why I appreciate my Pastor, Luke Zimmerman. He makes me well aware of my sinful nature. And just when I am about to cry in despair he reminds me that my Savior, Jesus Christ has marked my bill paid. I go home inwardly leaping and singing with joy and ready to face another week in which to serve the Lord. In am 86 years old and a lifelong Missouri Lutheran and have had all too few Pastors that could do that for me.

    • S Meyer April 26, 2016 at 9:06 pm #

      Your joy matches my experience. Each man I’ve been blessed to call pastor has touched my life. Each different. Each what I needed. I love our church.

  2. John J Flanagan April 27, 2016 at 7:23 pm #

    I think there are too few pastors today willing to talk about sin, but it shouldn’t be that way. We all need to be reminded we are sinners in need of Christ, Our Savior, and we need to be reminded of the distinction between Law and the Gospel of Grace. In addition, rather than generic sermons, we, as Lutherans need to see the relevance of our faith in terms of today. We never hear messages relating the practice of our faith to issues like abortion, homosexual marriage, persecution, and materialism.

    • Laura May 4, 2016 at 5:53 am #

      I agree with you 100%!

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