May I write something very personal to you. Please do not think me out of place in writing this,
Don’t “compare ourselves with ourselves” (2 Co 10:12): One of the joys of my life (I get emotional just thinking about it) is when I’m speaking somewhere and someone comes up and tells me how awesome one of my sons is. “We think your son is awesome.” And, I say “thank you, which one.” And in the nano-second between the question and the answer, every time I think., “but you know, it simply doesn’t matter.” They are both a blessing and tremendous ministers who love the Lord, His People and Souls. And I can breath. But here’s the thing. They are as different as night and day. And there is no reason to compare them. Give Philip a microphone and he’ll blow your socks off. He’s comfortable in front of a crowd. He is a system’s guy. Andrew, he doesn’t need a mic. He will love people to death and serve them. Yes, he can preach and teach and yes, Philip can do one on one. They are both insanely creative and both intensely devoted to the Word of God but they are different. Why would I compare them?
Of course I’m a proud dad but if you think that why I’m writing this piece then you are miles off base. My point is for you to be the best you you can be for God. I know guys who’s ability to understand and apply words in original language is a thing of pure beauty. I also know brothers who can collect, remember, and present moving illustrations that shed beautiful light on the text, but struggle with the English language let alone the Greek. I know guys who can present lesson after lesson without a note who can connect with their audience well, but who are insecure about one-on-one visiting.
But it seems for most of us it is our weaknesses that chase us, we want what we don’t have and can become envious of the gift we do not possess. If you spend your ministry trying to be someone other than you, comparing your “success” with that of others, you’ll never impact those you uniquely can impact. Talk about a recipe to keep you discouraged, ineffective, and on the ledge of quitting! And, you stand in danger of forgetting that the Father is proud of all of His sons who are faithfully serving Him. He sees beyond your cannot’s and to your committed service. You are His sons and The Father is proud of the stewardship of each of the skills He has provided.
Regardless of how we may feel about it, Sunday is a big day for all of us who preach. For some of us it’s our favorite day of the week. For others it is an extremely difficult day. Yet still, it is an important day in the life of the preacher.
One preacher friend recently wrote that he feels brain dead and emotionally exhausted. Another said at the end of the day on Sunday he is spent.
Here are some ways others have described the end of Sunday. I Feel like I have run a marathon....and won. I feel tired, but it is a good “tired” most of the time. It invigorates me! It usually drains me. Sundays wear me out mentally, emotionally, and occasionally physically. Sundays are very draining, but it is a very good type of being drained. I'm not good for anything else after preaching, teaching, and trying to be an extrovert all day. One of our preaching brothers described it as the Holy Hangover.
At times we may wonder if we have accomplished anything of worth. I don’t know how you may feel after Sunday, but may I remind you of some of the things you have done on this important day.
You have fulfilled your obligation to preach the Word of God.
You have comforted someone who is hurting.
You have given someone hope who desperately needs it.
You have, through the Word convicted someone of sin.
You have said something that helped someone change the direction of their life.
You have provided strength for someone who is weak.
You have impacted the life of some teenager.
You have made an impression for good on a child.
You have shared a glimpse of Heaven with others.
You have helped someone gain more insight into Scripture.
You have created the desire in someone to be more like Jesus.
You have challenged someone to spend more time in the Word.
Yes, my brother, whether you are tired, invigorated, spent, or exhausted, please don’t ever forget that on Sunday you did something that is of eternal significance.
I’ve seen it a thousand times or so. A respected Gospel Preacher or teacher will die and someone will comment that their generation is going away so quickly. Well, that’s not fully true. Preachers die every month, have for years, and until the Lord returns, we will continue to.
It happened again last week. At least three highly visible preachers died on the same day. I’ve seen it and understand it. Several posted the moving line from the old George Jones song: “Who’s going to fill their shoes.” And we can all wonder but if we believe no one will we are off base.
Here’s the thing. On its surface that is a very sweet sentiment, but it can lead to discouragement, frustration, and make you want to toss in the towel. If the best has already been and has died then why should I try at all? If I could never make the impact, live up to, be effective as Brother X, then let’s put in his tapes, their tapes, each week and move on. I loved VP Black, Gus Nichols, Bobby Duncan, Jim Bill McInteer, George Bailey, Willard Collins, Ira North, of course dad, and the list of good men I’ve respected and miss here could fill the page. Here’s the thing. We serve the Lord in a limited time and in our time. The books of David Lipscomb no longer move an audience as they did in the mid-1800’s. Many of the illustrations of Marshall Keeble would have to be updated to impact today’s audiences. The syntax of N.B. Hardeman or Batsell Barrett Baxter would be too stilted for many of today’s listeners. I find it hard to imagine how Alexander Campbell would navigate social media.
The words Charles Wesley wrote in 1762 as he studied Leviticus 8 strike a deep emotional chord with me and make me reflect on my time and purpose: “A charge to keep I have, A God to glorify, A never-dying soul to save, And fit it for the sky. To serve the present age, My calling to fulfill: Oh, may it all my pow’rs engage To do my Master’s will!”
No, you’ll never be BC Goodpasture, but God doesn’t need you to be. BC served his time well, you serve in this time and place and when you are gone God will raise up others who will faithfully and lovingly do His work. Who’s gonna fill their shoes? I do not say this with the slightest tinge of arrogance, but you will, and I will as we serve our present age.
And one more thing. We don’t lose them. We gained another soul in heaven.
This past weekend, tens of thousands of young people, gathered in hotels and convention centers around the country to participate in faith-building conventions.
These young people were joined by parents, coaches, sponsors, elders, and other wonderful Christians who encouraged them in their efforts.
Many of them were joined by their preachers and youth ministers/leaders. Over and over again throughout the course of the weekend, we heard these people speak of how these conventions were produced through team efforts.
It was exhilarating to see how many preachers and youth leaders are an important part of this team effort. It was impressive to see preachers listening to these young people, shaking their hands, hugging them and otherwise encouraging them in their work.
It was just a reminder of how much preachers are needed. Not just to preach, not just to teach, not just to support elders in their work, not just to visit hospitals, not just to conduct funerals, not just to perform weddings, and not just to counsel those in need.
Preachers are desperately needed to help young people along their journey of life. Yes, our first responsibility to our own children, our own families. However, there are young people and children who we see every week who need our encouragement.
One way we can endure difficult situations when we become uncertain about our ministry is to spend some time focusing on young people. This will help us want to keep going through tough times. Whether you feel needed or wanted by older church members, one thing you can know for certain. The young people need you.
They are not aware of what might be going on behind the scenes but think about what it will mean to their lives if we take time for them.
We can speak to them, look them in the eye, call them by name, ask them how they are doing in school or how their team is doing. Show some special interest in a young person and it may just strengthen you.
Hope you have a great week. We love you all.
I love to see it when one of our ministers is hurting because someone in the church/youth group/brotherhood they love is going through a tough time. We see it in prayer requests on social media, I hear it in your voice when you call and ask how to help someone in a specific setting. Frankly it is a thing of beauty. Not in some masochistic sort of way, I don’t like to see ministers suffer, but I do love it when you do the hard work of entering into someone else’s pain.
See, ministry is expensive: It costs our hearts as we pour our emotions in to loving people who often will not appreciate or understand it. It costs our energies as we give our time and attention to those who are hurting. It costs our souls as we go hand to hand in combat with the enemy of all that is good. Yes, ministry is expensive.
And the truth is it’s like Jesus. Sympathy is sorrow that something has happened, empathy is feeling along with someones pain, compassion is stepping in to the pain of others to aid them. Jesus was moved with compassion and it cost Him much. But, it was worth it. And when you step into the pain of others, it will cost you too, but it will be worth it.
Thank you for hurting on behalf of others. Don’t quit.
Someone has said that one of Satan’s favorite tools is discouragement. He will use it in every way possible for his advantage. Don’t ever forget that deep down, he doesn’t care about us at all. He is out to destroy the work of God.
He has figured in his deceptive heart that if he can discourage God’s man, he can derail the work of God. He must also know how deeply God loves His men and how when one of God’s servants is hurting, so is God.
Therefore, our Adversary will use anything and anyone he can to discourage God’s men. Let’s be honest, every one of us who have been working for God any length of time has dealt with discouragement.
It could be illness (our own or someone we love), financial difficulties, family problems, consistent temptation, or habitual fighting of some specific sin.
As well, he can use people to discourage us. Maybe it’s the well-meaning brother who is forever critiquing our work or our preaching. Perhaps it’s the elder who is constantly reminding us who is “in charge.” It might even be a small group of people who are “working” behind the scenes to change something they don’t like.
All of these are real, we’ve experienced them in our ministry and in our moments of weakness they can discourage us. So, how do we handle the Devil and one of his favorite tools. Just a few thoughts.
Remember that this is God’s work, we are simply his servants, His spokesmen, the vessels through which He will accomplish His purposes.
Try your best not to focus on those who discourage you. Surround yourself as much as possible with people who support, encourage, and refresh your soul.
Stay in the Word. You’ll be reminded that God has used servants who have been discouraged to do great things for Him.
May He bless you this week with encouragement, strength, and a heart of gratitude. May you know that you are loved and appreciated by many of God’s people.
What are your strengths? We can list the areas where we are strong and the areas we struggle. What about you? Strong voice? Unique accent? A memory that won’t stop? Ability to turn a phrase? Mad skills in alliteration? Super insight into the text? Uncommonly strong eye contact? The power to move an audience? A knowledge of when to pause? A humor that helps you connect? A transparency that allows people to see you as relatable? Aptness at applying the text? A mind that can retain languages? The consistency to see the bigger picture of the congregations immediate and long term needs and hurts? You probably possess one or more of these. And it makes you a better preacher if it is/they are honed and applied well.
Strengths. Maybe you feel a tad overwhelmed, a little deficient, behind, inept as you read through my list. I know I do.
How about a different list to consider? You can love your audience through your words. You do have the capacity to speak joy into the midst of misery. Where division is threatening you can share the Prince of Peace. If others are flagging behind you are able to demonstrate the patience to keep going! Those moments where the meanness of our culture seems to corrupt the mouths of God’s People, you can combat with kindness. While some will chase every “wind of doctrine” you will remain faithful to the Good News. Where those delicate situations arise you can gently lend your skill at providing a calming direction. While others might give into their passion you can show self-control. That list of possessed skill probably rings a bell: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Those are gifts that have grown in you.
And, while you may or may not ever excel at the first list, the second if one you will continue to add strength in as you continue to abide in Him. I’ve been around some with skills so great at presenting I felt totally incompetent. Don’t quit. The second list can be “had” by any minister and will touch far more than the temporary skills in the first.
We buried a preacher who was 92 years of age this past week. Bill was a great man of God and a great preacher. There must have been times in Bill’s life that he became discouraged to the point of wanting to quit. He had disagreements with elders. He didn’t make the money he deserved to make.
No doubt there were times that he dealt with health concerns. Surely, he had similar family issues that we all deal with from time to time. Through all of this, he kept going. He worked for the Lord as long as he was mentally and physically capable.
Someone has said, “The measure of a life, after all, is not in its duration, but its donation.” Couldn’t the same statement be made about our preaching/ministry life? Shouldn’t we measure effectiveness, not by the duration of our ministry, but by the donation of our ministry?
It might help us get through tough times if we focus more on what we can contribute to the Church, the lives of people around us, our families, and our communities, instead of focusing on the length of our ministry.
What contributions can we make to show love and support to our wives? What can we do to help our children through tough seasons?
What can we contribute to the leadership of our congregations that would make their work a little less stressful and more effective?
What can we contribute to our congregations that would help people who are struggling with issues in their lives or who need greater faith?
What can we contribute to our own lives that would increase our faith, our knowledge of the Word, and our effectiveness in ministry?
What if we quit measuring our ministry by the duration and instead measured it by our donation, by what we contribute the cause? Brothers, let’s not give in to Satan. Let’s keep living for God every day and contribute all we can to the work we are doing.
Have you ever been misquoted or had what you said taken out of context? If you’ve preached you have. I’ve had people tell me before something I never said anything even close to. I’ve had people quote me totally out of context to make it sound like I said something I never would say. I’ve had people quote me directly and correctly and not attribute my quote to me. Hey, it happens.
A while back I heard an interview where a sports network exec was talking about the pros and cons of mic’ing coaches. The interview took an interesting turn when the exec said: “The real gold happens when he forgets he is mic’ed up!” He said most coaches, early in the game, think before they talk. They know they have a wire on. It’s when a really bad call is made and the coach reacts before he remembers. It’s later in the game when he has basically forgotten he is wired for sound that you get the real coach.
Of course, you are probably way ahead of me. Minister friend, YOU are mic’ed up. 24/7. And there are those who will get what you say wrong, and there are those who would misuse your words, BUT God won’t. He knows your words, He hears your prayers, and even more than that He knows the intentions of your words and your heart. He will not misjudge, misunderstand, or use your words against you. And next time someone tries to destroy you and your ministry with their words about your words. Remember Him. And you might remember, no one has had their words misused more than Him. He understands. Be thankful.
The preacher was having a tough time. A co-worker had turned his back on the cause, on him, and most significantly on the Lord. He had dealt with opposition. He didn’t have his study resources, he desperately wanted to be out in the field working with his brothers, and…he was in prison, again! As well, he was nearing the end of his life.
If a preacher ever had “reasons” to quit, it was our brother Paul. It is highly likely that some preacher who is reading this is going through something similar to this right now. Maybe a co-worker or a friend has turned their back on you, the Church, and the Lord. Maybe it is someone you considered a friend who you would have never guessed would act this way.
Perhaps someone is opposing you right now. It might be an elder, a deacon, or some influential member of the congregation. Maybe you’re not in prison, but it is possible that someone reading this is being hindered from doing what you would like to do because of a health issue you are dealing with yourself or the health of a family member. Maybe you feel as if the end of your time on earth is drawing near.
The issue is not will we face desertion, opposition, or some other hindrance. The question is will any of these problems cause us to throw in the towel or will we like Paul, remain faithful to the end. How do you spend your time when you feel like you are in the crucible? Here’s a quick glimpse from 2 Timothy 4 showing us how Paul handled these adversities, in hopes they might help us when we need them.
In this great context we see that Paul focused on the Eternal reward, he recognized the need to keep growing in his faith, he thought about the people in his life who could support him, and he remembered the grace of God. When we are in a season of trials, we would do well to follow his example. May God bless you this week with the power to remain faithful until the end.
What gets in your way? Once upon a time in the last 40 years I thought it was a secretary. In my mind if we would’ve just gotten a better secretary it would have taken care of every problem. I remember dad asking me “when that problem is out of the way, what excuse will you use then to keep from doing what you need to be doing.” It stung, but he was right.
I wonder how many of our frustrations stem from us focusing on the wrong thing. You get upset over an elder who is not shepherding or standing (for whatever), your temperature rises over a co-laborer who certainly seems lazy, you can’t get beyond a deacon who won’t do his job, you have added angst over a member who you think it wanting you gone.
Trust me I understand.
I’d like to plant a thought that I pray will take root. Do your work. Preach, teach, exhort, minister, pray with and for. Do your work. Do it well. Do your work. Stop trying to be an elder, to run the church, to do all the work yourself. Do your work. Yes, some things will go undone but perhaps you will be surprised when someone steps forward that you did not think would and their spiritual life grows through the effort. Do your work. Cancel the future trip to the cardiologist because you were trying to drive every train, push every event, spin every plate. Do your work. Make full proof of your ministry.
This is not a rant, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. You’ll find greater peace, greater success, greater joy, and lower blood pressure if you’ll just do your work.
Moses was enduring a rough stretch in his life. He had lived the first part of his life (after being saved from death through the providence of God), in the lap of luxury. He had received the best education that was possible in his world and he had everything that any young man could want.
However, he had a heart for his people. He came to the rescue of his fellow Hebrew, and it turned his life around. His act of delivering one of his fellow countrymen caused other Hebrews to turn on him. It caused Pharaoh to turn his anger on Moses and attempt to have him killed. Finally, it caused Moses to have to flee to a foreign land.
It was during this difficult stretch in the life of this man of God that he learned one of life’s most valuable lessons. He learned that if he was going to rescue and deliver the people of God, he would not be able to do it alone. He would need the help of God.
Brothers, all of us will experience good days and bad in our ministries. There are times we may feel like we are on top of the world.
Other times, we may feel as though our brethren have turned on us. It may appear that we are being singled out by Satan or one of his ambassadors for destruction. Our jobs or our current situation may cause us to believe that we are being banished to the wilderness.
While, I don’t know what you may be enduring in your life or work right now, I can assure you of something that you already know. You nor I can make it through the tough times alone. It is during these times that we must continually turn to our Lord. We must seek His face. We must cast all our cares on Him, knowing He cares for us. We must learn with Moses that we desperately need the Lord if we are going to help His people.
I know this may end up offensive to some, but I pray it won’t. I want to share with you a truth that probably helped me more than it should have. It’s a one sentence thought that you probably can’t ever say out loud but if you plant it in your brain it may help you to make it through a lot of different situations. It has me. It may even keep you from quitting at a real difficult time. So, with that preamble, are you ready?
“Someday this is going to make a great story.”
Yeah, I oversold it. I remember the first time I had that thought. An African-American lady (knowing that does matter for the story) had responded to the invitation. It’s a long story and I won’t share all the little facts that make it one of my favorites, but one line stands out. She said: “My name is _____ _______, I’m Marylin Monroe reincarnated.” At that line, spoken quite loudly, three rows of teens began to try to hold in their laughter. Forget the theological impossibilities of her statement, this rather large, dark-skinned, woman wearing a blonde wig would never have passed for Miss Monroe. And, whether I should have or not in my mind I, for the first time, thought, “someday this is going to make a great story.” And it has, but since then I can’t count the number of situations that began and I started my mental recorder because “someday this is going to make a great story.” Sometimes the situations are funny, sometimes sad, sometimes difficult or even painful, but always one that I know I will recall, learn from, retell, and use to make me better at what I do.
Whether it was the person who asked me to exercise a ghost from her house, the 3 year old who pulled a loaded gun on me, the 90 year old stormed out of the church building during a prayer with a spoken word of profanity, the time I preached a funeral for a person who I realized was actually sitting in the audience, the elder who picked up a chair to throw at another elder, the middle aged man who kept insisting with finger pointing at me “you be quiet,” or 80+ year old woman who kept introducing herself to people where I was preaching as the preacher’s wife. Whether painful or painfully funny, I can be bitter, hurt, and halted, or I can use the experiences of ministry to make me stronger, more fit for service, or simply better I what I want to do.
So next time something is happening that is hard or hilarious, think to yourself, “someday this is going to make a great story.” I’m pretty sure it will make whatever this situation simpler to endure. Smile, learn, but, don’t quit.
This week it falls my lot to celebrate one of those big-numbered, milestone Birthdays. Several “well-meaning” folk came to me on Sunday to gleefully “remind” me of my age! One of my dear shepherds told me that tonight was my last sermon as a young preacher! Another “welcomed” me into the Primetimers!
Some of you reading this, understand exactly what we’re talking about. You know, when people don’t call you anymore to ask you to come be their preacher because they are looking for a younger man. They might call to see if you know any younger men. You know, they tell you they imagine that you were at one time a really effective preacher. It’s time to put you out to pasture and bring in a younger man.
Some of you are still young and people are telling you someday you are going to make a really good preacher. They may overlook you in serious discussions because they don’t think you are mature enough yet, you haven’t “paid your dues.”
Whatever the reason, maybe there are times in our ministry lives, in our weaker moments, we feel marginalized, unneeded, and worst of all, unwanted. How do we handle these seasons of our lives if we aren’t ready to throw in the towel? A couple of thoughts.
Jesus was ignored by many, including some in His own family. He was forsaken by those who were closest to Him who knew Him best. Those who should have understood His work did not. Yet, He still persevered. Not everyone is going to love us like we think they should. They want all think we are the greatest person they’ve ever met. When that happens, we are in good company.
Lean on Him. During tough seasons there may be people we can’t completely depend on. However, we can always depend on Him He will never walk out on us. He will always be with us. We can cast all our cares on Him, because He cares for us.
Dear God, Please, bless your men this week who might be in seasons of discontent. Help them to know that we have a High Priest who understands every problem we encounter. Help us to always cast our cares on You. In the Name of our Savior, we pray, Amen.
"And now I entrust you to God and the message of his grace that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those he has set apart for himself” (Acts 20:32, NLT).
I don’t know what kind of day you had. Hopefully it was full of joy and moments to treasure. But I’m fairly sure for some of you it was not. And for some of you today may have been glorious but you remember or someday will remember that some Sunday’s don’t end that way. You may have had to contend with some difficult brethren, you may be struggling with your own spiritual health or the physical health of someone you cherish, you may be chasing youth or maturity, you may be struggling to fit in in a new place or fearing you’ll soon be having to find one, you may be fighting your own demons or worse those sent by the evil one, you may have become unsure of your purpose or self-conscious of your abilities.
I want to call you back to remember something special. You have been entrusted with the “Word of His grace.” With that Word which can build you and those to whom you speak up. To that Word which can set you and those you are influencing in the midst of all who will receive His inheritance. Yes, it may be a tough day, but there’s Good News. Your mission is to share the Word entrusted to you. Joy in that greatness. We are blessed to be God’s ambassadors. Rejoice in the midst of whatever because you’re mindful of your mission.
On the pages of the Sacred Scripture, preachers are identified as “men of God.” The phrase occurs around seventy times in the book of Jeremiah alone. On two separate occasions, Paul identifies his young protégé’, Timothy, as a man of God.
Preacher, there are a lot of things that people can take away from us. They can take away our income, they can take away our position, they can take away our opportunities, they can even take away our jobs. However, they can never take away our identity.
We hear a lot of people say, you’ve probably said it yourself, “Don’t ever forget whose you are!” It’s a profound thought, an encouraging thought, some of those life-giving words. It is also important for us to always remember WHO we are. And a part of our identity is that we are “men of God.”
When you’re struggling with financial concerns (you know, more month than you have money), when you or someone you love is in a battle for their life due to illness, when you are at war with your elders, when you feel like a co-worker isn’t doing right, when you keep losing little battles with Satan, and when you feel that you’ve been beaten down by life, when you’re thinking about throwing in the towel; please don’t forget your identity.
First, you are one of God’s children. He loves you deeply. He hurts when you hurt. He longs to be close to you. He will answer every care, every fear, ever tear, and every plea from your lips.
Second, another important part of your identity is that if you are a preacher, you are a “man of God.” He has a special place in His heart for you. He loves you in a special way. You have made a commitment to Him and He will never forget His promises, His commitment, or His love for you! Man of God, don’t forget who you are!!
Quit! You know you could. And, there are certainly days you would. So, why not? It’s so wearisome, frustrating, aggravating, infuriating, why not just drop out? I mean, who would miss you? They all already compare you to every other preacher they’ve ever had, and a hundred others they’ve heard on YouTube. And, you could, you know, make more money doing something else. So, write out that letter. Quit. Then there’s the pettiness, the gossip, the dividers, the folks who wittingly or unwittingly are causing confusion and bring about an unhealthy undercurrent. And, you have to hear them all, and nod and counsel and be understanding and strive to make peace. You’ve got to be tired of it all. So, quit. I mean, a lot of Saturday nights, you already wonder how you are going to make it through one more Sunday. Why wouldn’t you?
Here’s why: There’s a 10 year old girl whose heart is full and ready to serve and needs someone to encourage her. There’s a 30 year old business man at the apex of life who needs to hear that success is measured by more than the bucks in his bank account. And the 12 year old boy who needs to hear the soundness of the Gospel message. Across the aisle from him there’s a college kid who is only there to keep from disappointing his grandma, he’s struggling with where he will rest his faith and needs to know it will be secure only in Christ. There’s the 20 year old beauty, who has been convinced that all matters is the outside, but who on the inside has more beauty than any camera could grasp, she needs to know how to make that shine. And, here, a 70 year old saint, in love with Jesus for life, now struggling with fear of death, he needs a word to bolster his assurance. Slumped over near the back there’s a 50 year old executive who didn’t get that last promotion, he’s in a midlife slump and needs someone to lift up his hands that are falling down. On the third row from the back there’s that young couple, newborn in their arms, they, like others, feel the sweet nectar of sleep pulling at their wearied eyelids, they just need someone to tell them they will make it through this and that it’s worth it. Somewhere in the middle of it all someone got a bad report from their tests last week, they need to know that Jesus will walk with them through whatever the future holds. If you keep looking you’ll see plenty of others whose story only a minister, and their God, knows.
Yes, there is little doubt there are days it would be easy to quit, but, really, can you? Really, do you want to? This is the greatest work in the world…don’t quit.
If we’re honest with ourselves, those of us who preach will admit there are times we are anxious, concerned, even apprehensive about the future. We struggle with the same weaknesses and concerns that those to whom we preach have in their lives.
The Good News is that there is Good News. The message we preach with an exclamation point, even when we live with question marks about that message, is God’s promise that we will not endure the heartaches and headaches forever. There will come a day that all will be made right.
There will come a day that we never again be separated from those we love.
There will come a day when there will be no more business meetings.
There will come a day that we will never watch in pain as our children are looked down on or ostracized because they are PK’s.
There will come a day that we will never endure the hurt of seeing our wives feel all alone because her husband is the preacher.
There will come a day when you will never shed another secret tear because you don’t know how you’re going to be able to pay all of your bills this month.
There will come a day that you’ll never spend another sleepless night wondering why you’ve been called to an elders meeting later this week.
There will come a day when you’ll never again hear statements such as, “Preacher, what do you do with all of your spare time during the week,” “The preacher at our last church was a great preacher and he was always there for everyone,” “You get paid too much!” “Did you know that you had the wrong scripture on the PowerPoint his morning?” “
There will come a day when you’ll never grieve the loss of a close friend because of your convictions and your commitments.
There will come a day when you will no longer endure the sorrow of seeing a child or another family member walk away from the Lord.
There will come a day that you’ll never fear that a co-worker or another leader is trying to undermine your work.
There will come a day that you’ll never again be awakened at 2:30 in the morning because of a church emergency.
There will come a day that you’ll never again wonder if you are cut out for this or if you need to throw in the towel.
There will come a day when all of the cares, concerns, and pain in this life will be turned into everlasting joy.
Hang in there brother. There will come a day!
For 4 years now we have been telling you week after week that you do not need to quit. Today I want to encourage you to quit! It’s time to quit. I like the word linkage of Paul in Romans 13, “…knowing the time, that now it is high time” (vs. 11). While he is talking about the hour of our salvation it is also high time we consider some things we need to quit as ministers.
It’s time to quit being offended: So many of us are paranoid and therefore over analyze every comment about our work. We become easily offended and wear our feelings and even our outward emotions on our faces. Quit being easily offended. Trust that God will care for you and take care of you.
It’s time to quit looking for things to go bad, to quit seeing the problem in everything: God’s People, and especially His spokesmen have every reason in the world to be optimistic. We’ve read the end of the book, we know the glorious outcome, it’s time to quit living like we don’t know that, like the present with it’s problems and pressures is all there is. It’s time to quit finding the cloud in every silver lining and to be optimistic in every instance.
It’s time to quit worrying: I hope you know I’m preaching to myself in this too. Worry is a sin. Concern is not. But it is very easy for one to slip into the other. We are people of faith, it’s time to believe, and act like it, that God is in control. Our worry bleeds into our ministry effectiveness. It also causes our faith to leak which affects our souls, our own connection to and faith in God.
And when we quit these things we will find ourselves thinking less about quitting our ministry for the Lord on a Monday or a Thursday. May God bless you as you quit the right things.