by Robert Earl Houston
One of the greatest mis-statements is the name of Fran Striker’s “The Lone Ranger.” This character was a masked ex-Texas Ranger who fought injustice in the old western United States. He rode a horse by the name of Silver and his tag line was “Hi-Yo! Silver, Away . . .” His name would strike fear into his opponents and he would always show up with his “A” game.
But he was not a lone ranger.
Fighting right along side with him was “Tonto.” He was a native Indian who shared the Lone Ranger’s sense of justice and often times it found him fighting not only those who looked like the Lone Ranger but sometimes he fought those who looked like him. These characters have been beloved since 1933.
But he was not a lone ranger.
I believe that Pastors cannot have that epitaph over their lives. Pastors need a friend. Not a flunky. Not a yes-man or yes-woman. Not an underling. You need somebody that runs in your sphere and is somewhere either above or below in your abilities. You need somebody who can be your Jonathan to your David; That can be your Silas to your Paul; That can be your James to your John; That can be your Tonto to your Lone Ranger.
In this era of competitiveness and unfortunate isolation many pastors are clean and polished on the outside, great orators in the pulpit, and are empty because they have no peer relationships in their lives. I’m not talking about the occasional shaking of hands at a conference or the small group laugh at a convention – I mean someone with whom they can trust enough (key) to where verbal shorthand is the linguistics and honest rapport is the rule. Where no subject is off limits and it’s okay if a few choice, non-Biblical words are used to express frustration, anger, joy, and other emotions.
I’m wary of pastors who don’t have friends. The Bible declares correctly, “if you want to have friends, be friendly.” However, the balancing act of a pastor, (which includes God, family, and church) is not a two handed juggle act. Sometimes you need an extra pair of hands to help you sort through some things, look at some things, and analyze some things.
Due to the nature of this vocation, sometimes your friend may be across the country. It may be another pastor in your city. It may be a pastor that your people will never see. However, you need to find that person as soon as possible. I’m not talking about your pastor, because that’s a scope of a completely different relationship – there are some things I will say to my friend that I wouldn’t dare utter to my pastor. Before you pick that apart think of the pastor as a parent – are there some things that are so personal that you wouldn’t share with a parent, but you would with a friend? Of course there are.
Don’t be a lone ranger. There were some situations where the Lone Ranger found himself tied up, shot at, trapped, kidnapped, and in the threat of dangers he never saw.
But Tonto came to his rescue. Don’t be a lone ranger.