Putting yourself in a role as “pastor” of a flock of people as a new believer is a dangerous proposition. You will recall that Paul went off to Arabia to sit under the Holy Spirit for an extended period of time (Galatians 1:17-18) prior to being chosen to do the teaching on the first missionary team (Acts 13:2) and write most of the New Testament. While he did initially hit the ground running (“At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.” Acts 9:20), he was led to gain the spiritual foundation he needed for the long and winding road ahead.
If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea. Mark 9:42
As a dad, I’m always worried about causing any of my four kids to stumble by my behavior or example. A heavy millstone is clearly not the kind of life preserver you’d want if cast into the sea, and this is better than causing innocent believers to go theologically astray. The same danger is faced by pastors of all kinds.
And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell. Mark 9:47
There’s really nothing more important or anything worth keeping that causes you to stumble. I like the word eschew here. Get rid of anything deleterious to your Christian walk. That’s a pretty tall task for someone with everything, that’s done everything.
Hell, where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched. Mark 9:48
Also not lost in this passage is the clear indication from Jesus himself that hell is a real and horrible place to go. We know from the Bible it’s a fiery place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, where eternal death is spent in separation from God. So, a Christian leader must make sure on his watch, no one goes there.