Is Your Pastor Eating His Vegetables?
Does your pastor like broccoli? Do they eat spinach like Popeye or down the carrots like Bugs Bunny? It's a dumb question, but not really. You probably want your pastor to eat healthy, because it will lead to a long and happy life for them. Even if they don't like it, it's good for them to eat their vegetables.
"Of course," you say! It's why we tell our kids to eat them and why over 1.06 billion dollars is spent every year advertising healthy alternatives to junk food. The science is in, and eating your vegetables might not feel great, but they're good for you. They can even be delicious if you find the right way to cook them. In fact, you might have even learned about the food pyramid in school. It looks like the one below.
It starts on top with fats and sugars. Donuts, candy, and cookies. That's an easy sell, but you shouldn't have too much of it. Then it moves down to dairy and protein products. They are not as tasty but still pretty good and filling. The next tier down is veggies and fruits. Then it rounds out with carbs.
You're supposed to have a certain serving size per day in order to maintain a healthy diet, but the chances are your pastor isn't eating his vegetables...so to speak.
Okay, obviously, I'm not actually talking about dietary habits, although that's worth spending some time on. Too many overweight pastors are preaching about finding satisfaction in Jesus while they can only seem to find the fridge. But that's a conversation for a different time. What I am talking about is the preaching habits of your pastor. Every person who has ever preached has a hierarchy of favorite things to talk about. It might be topical stuff like creation or identity. It might include favorite books to preach through or doctrine to discuss. That's natural, and we all have those things we could talk about for 45 minutes at the drop of a hat. That's the fats and sugars.
Then we have the meat and dairy. We know we need to preach on those things, and congregations should understand to have a deeper love towards God. These are the things that sustain life in Christ and cannot be done without. Things like salvation, the trinity, and how to read your Bible are in that category.
After that comes the fruits. These are things that we don't normally LOVE to preach, but they are interesting either because of the times or because of the nuances of the passage. Preaching a sermon from Isaiah 7:14 at Christmas time or maybe something about what God says about sexuality might fall into this category. You like them, but you can't live off them. You don't want to hear a Christmas message in June.
Then lastly, we have the carbs. These are sermons of encouragement or hope. Carbs give you energy, and one of the primary concerns a message should have is to draw you toward the hope in Jesus Christ and encourage you to move toward Him.
But what about the veggies? The veggies are the parts of your Bible that your pastor should preach from, but doesn't. They should eat their vegetables, but they're giving them to the dog under the table. Skipping parts of the Bible is like eating your main course but not broccoli.
Good churches preach the full counsel of God. Meaning they teach everything in it because everything in it is good for you. There is not a section in the Bible that can't help you in some form or fashion. So the logical conclusion is that those pastors that refuse or neglect to preach from specific places or on certain topics are withholding vital information that could help you love God better.
Now that doesn't mean I'm advocating preaching through every single verse from Genesis to Revelation. You'd get bored, and the pastor would be fired before they got to Deuteronomy.
Beware of the pastor who doesn't use the whole bible. Think back on the last 5 years of your church. That's about 260 messages. Has there been an adequate spread of sermons? Has your pastor preached from Poetry, the Gospels, and a prophet? Have they talked about the Law from its original context? Have they been noticeably absent from certain sections of the Bible? If so, it's worth a conversation.
I say conversation because there might be a good reason for it. Maybe you're in an expositional, verse-by-verse kind of church. That means it's going to take a longggggg time to get around the Bible in a meaningful way. It might mean that no one is actually asking your pastor to eat their vegetables. Our default setting is to do what's comfortable and easy. We all need help to push ourselves and grow in our walk with God. Your pastor is no different.
Either way, make sure he gets some carrots...or whatever it is he dreads preaching from.