No one likes to be used or taken advantage of. That's true for pastors, too, but still, a pastor would much rather be taken advantage of than patronized.
Going to church is not a matter of doing the pastor a favor; at least it shouldn't be. Better to go for that reason than not at all, but that is hardly the point. I suppose it would be worse to presume that one is doing God a favor, but the pastor is speaking and acting in God's Name, so it really amounts to the same thing.
No one goes to a movie or out to eat as a favor to the manager of the establishment. No one goes to a mechanic or a doctor to do the professional a favor. We all make use of worldly goods and services, and we're even willing to pay for them, or barter for them, or whatever, because we desire to be cared for and served, or perhaps entertained, or to benefit in some way. How much more ought we to hunger for the Word and works of God, which He gives to us generously and without cost by His beloved Son.
As I said last night, it is one of the saddest ironies that man should make God's Sabbath into a burdensome and onerous task. The Lord desires to give His people joyful peace and blessed rest, but sinful man views this gift as a wearisome obligation. How quickly we count and calculate our effort and our sacrifice, while we forget our Lord's benefits.
Perhaps the pastor is personally boring or tedious. Nevertheless, the Word he preaches is the Lord's, and the works he administers are Christ's. These gracious gifts of God are not burdens upon His people, but the very fountain and source of life and salvation. Is this a chore?
To be patronized, as though people were doing the pastor a favor by coming to church, is one of the most discouraging responses to the Ministry of the Gospel. Not because it hurts the pastor's feelings (which would be missing the point in exactly the same way!), but because it reduces the Gospel to a legalistic work of man. Far better to be used and taken advantage of, that the goods and services of Christ and His Gospel might be received as the rich and pleasant benefits they are.
Old Lutheran Quote of the Day
7 hours ago