satan will stop short of nothing to get another of God’s Men. he will not play by the rules, he will lie, he will cheat. And if he can trip up, discourage, run off one of God’s Men, he gets a double thrill - he gets the minister and those who he might influence. I want you to know, the time will come when each of us will quit - the question is when and what will cause it. It may be discouragement, disease, or death but something will still your preaching voice. And you need to know, as much as we strive to encourage guys to stay with it, it is not a sin to not preach. We need excellent shepherds, understanding brothers, and supportive members. But please, don’t quit too soon. satan will use whatever he can. It may be a difficult leadership he will use to distract and discourage you, it may a deep hurt that makes it seem impossible to go forward, it may be a lack of confidence, a feeling of inadequacy, a guilt that you carry, an individual who spreads falsities that affect your influence, a sin your can’t seem to get around, a loss that leaves you empty, a disappointment that you can’t let go of, a thorn in flesh - or a combination any of the above. I hope you will remember that satan will buffet you in any way he can. Remember, you have those of us who love you and are thankful for you and want to encourage you in every way possible. Remember for every enemy of the cross there are friends. Remember the work you do is important. Remember, He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world, I John 4:4. Go, do, bless. Remember you are loved and you are valuable.
The grief is real. The pain of losing the dearest person on earth or an extremely close friend is real. The broken hearts are real. The loneliness is real. The fear of the unknown is real. The emptiness is real. The hurt caused by broken friendships is real. The worries about the possibility of losing a job are real. The financial concerns are real. The hurt caused by someone you love walking away from the Lord is real.
It’s all real, or at least it feels real as you walk through it. Can I tell you what else is real?
The promise that God will never leave us or forsake us is real. The knowledge that He has provided a Comforter for us is real. The love of family is real. The compassion of people who understand the real meaning of friendship is real. The support of other Christians who sincerely care is real. The blessings of being a part of God’s Family are real. The commitment from our Loving Father that all of this is temporary is real. The call of God for His people to come before His throne at any time is real. The glory and the promise of Heaven are real. The fact that we someday will live forever in a place where there is no cancer, no disease, no sin, no pain, no sorrow, no heartache, and no loss; this fact is real. All of the promises of God are real, and they are Amen.
Dear brothers, let’s do everything we can to make sure that the painful realities of this life do not overshadow the joys of this life or the life to come.
Thank you for your prayers and kindness to our family the last few days…
One of my cries out to God is to make me better for the service I am in. I firmly believe that if Christianity doesn’t make us better people then we are really not Christians at all. Knowing Christ, imbibing His Word, striving to live to the standard of His example, being influenced by His People, should make us better. If you are not a better person as a Christian than you would otherwise be, are you really a Christian at all?
I was reminded again this weekend and today.
Preaching should make us better men. It should make us think deeply and biblically through the issues of life. It should press us to handle with grace and faith hardships as an example of that faith. It should push us to overcome the personal demons that plague us and might lead to reactions that might ruin our ministry in a moment. It should compel us to a greater love than “the heathen,” loving our adversaries and forgiving the worst of human enemies. If should lead us to greater heights as a husband and father, imitating Christ and God. It should call us to love the souls of each person we have the opportunity to influence to Christ. Time in the Word should cause us to examine our own lives and challenge us to allowing It to disciple us.
My brother buried his beloved companion of roughly 40 years on Saturday afternoon and then Sunday he chose to preach. I got to hear his message online this afternoon. It was as passionate, tender, compelling call to Christ as I can ever remember hearing. Yes, preaching, the life of ministry, time in the Word, deeply considering life in light of God, living a life of love and service to Laura, have all refined him to be a better man because he is a Christian man.
I pray you are allowing God to make you better because you belong to Him. I am proud of and thankful for my humble brother and pray I can be like him as he is like Christ.
It was a most unusual Sunday, but oh my, what a blessing. One of a handful of times in the last forty years that I sat and listened to someone else deliver the sermon. It was a tremendous blessing to be warmly greeted by strangers in a worship setting far from home. It was a great blessing to sit beside my wife, to be able to hold her hand as we prayed and even as we opened the Scriptures together.
The entire worship experience was thrilling. And the preaching was outstanding. If I called the preacher’s name, few of you who are reading this would recognize him. He isn’t a regular on the “big” programs (it is certainly not because he’s not capable). He isn’t well known for his writing, his preaching, or his ministry to his congregation (as a point of fact, most of you reading this wouldn’t recognize the name of the church).
As we sat through the sermon (very Biblical, very well put together, and extremely practical), I thought about all of the preachers around our country and the world, who are much like this godly man.
I thought of many of you who read these Monday Morning Thoughts. Men who love the Lord with all of their hearts. Men who are committed to preaching the Truth in love. Men who minister without fanfare to the flock God has entrusted to you. Men who love their wives and who are working hard to help raise their children. Men who continue to stay strong under difficult circumstances. Men who labor every day for the Glory of God, not so that they will be praised, or known, or famous, or wealthy.
Men just like you, my brother. Thank you. Thank you for your life of service for the Lord. May He shower you with abundant blessings from above. As well, may you know how important and valuable you are to the Kingdom.
How was your sermon yesterday? Did you interpret the text well? Illustrate it clearly? How was your introduction? Did everyone “get on the bus?” Was your outline memorable and followable? How about your close?
If you are like me there are plenty of weeks you’ll grade yourself out low on these.
Last week I was in a class with a small group of people who did not know me. The teacher had each of us introduce ourselves. Naturally in my introduction I included that I am a preacher. A little later, the teacher referred to me as a pastor. While I don’t always do it, I said, “Actually, I’m a preacher, not a pastor.” All heads turned as the preacher responder “What’s the difference.” Before giving a more instructive answer, I jokingly said: “A pastor has to care for people, a preacher just preaches.”
In your opinion you may not have graded out well in your preaching Sunday, but that doesn’t mean your day was wasted. Obviously, your sermon is significant, but your ministry is much more than those words you spoke for 20-45 minutes yesterday.
Those words may often be remembered, but the attention you gave to a young child, the time you sat and listened to an aging sister tell of her aches, the moments you answered the ethical question of a business man, the interaction with a teen about their weekend athletic endeavors, the time in counsel with a sister struggling with her faith, the hug for a widower still struggling in his year old grief, the welcome you gave to a new family who is experiencing that discomfort many face when walking into a new place, the knowing pat on the shoulder toward someone who had called you earlier to confess a private struggle, the sincere smile you share with a sister battling depression, these will be remembered. I bet you did much better than the grade you placed on your sermon. Yes, you preached and/or taught, and I’m so thankful you did, but I pray when you give yourself a “low C” on the sermon, you’ll remember — You ministered. And your moments in ministry will last much longer in the hearts of people than a masterful message. Step lively, what you do matters. Don’t quit. We need you preacher, we need your ministry.
When our grandchildren were younger, they would fall and hurt themselves as children will do. If I was near, I would tell them to come to Pops and let me hold them. I would jokingly say, “Come to Doctor Pops.” As our granddaughter got a little older, she would roll her eyes at me, and once she piped up and said, “Pops, you’re not a doctor, you are a preacher!” Then she said, “Stick to what you know, Pops.”
I’ve thought about that childlike admonition numerous times. It really is sage advice for those of us who preach. It is possible that one of the reasons we struggle so much in our work, is because we attempt to do things that are not in our area of expertise, and they are not really part of the work that has been assigned to us.
Sometimes, we try to do the work of elders because we feel they aren’t doing their work. We may become frustrated because they aren’t handling a situation in the way we think they should.
Perhaps, we see a job not being done by some deacon or some member that has been assigned to them. Rather than going through the ordeal of trying to get them to do it, we just do it ourselves.
Or, we don’t like the way some brother teaches a Bible class, so we stop asking them and we teach all of the classes.
If we aren’t careful, we can burn ourselves out doing the good work of the Lord by trying to do everything. It sometimes seems easier to do the work of others than to encourage them to do their work.
Brothers, our job is the preach the Word of God and minister to those whom God has entrusted to us. May God help us to busy ourselves about this work. As well, we will be less likely to become frustrated and burned out in the work of the Lord. In other words, stick to what we know!
I can remember those days. I’d get paid on Sunday and rush to the bank Monday morning. I was living paycheck to paycheck. I did that for more years than I am willing to own up to. Roughly 38% of you who are in ministry are still there, I understand and am thankful for the sacrifices you make for the ministry.
But that’s not the Sunday to Sunday I’m talking about.
I’m Sunday to Sunday. I live in that precarious place where my elders are good and my relationship with the church is healthy but the ever present reality that I’m one sentence in a sermon, one accusation from the right person, one indiscretion away from not having a job.
I’m Sunday to Sunday. For nearly 40 years I have not slept well on Saturday night. It doesn’t matter how many hours I’ve studied and prepared, how good life is otherwise, I am most ofter awake until the wee hours of Sunday morning and then up before the sun that day. I fantasize about a night of 8 hours of sleep on a Saturday. I think I’m weird but I bet a number of you are too.
Yes, I’m Sunday to Sunday and while some might question my faith or confidence, this Sunday to Sundayistic life I live presses me to greater faith. It pushes me to not be self-reliant but to trust in God come what may. The Sunday sermon, bathed in prayer and covered with His Word. The precarious place where I could be out of a job at any time. Even the lack of financial independence forces me to turn to Him. Others might, He will not forsake me. Others have, He has not let me down. I put my trust in Thee, where else can I rest it?
It was a sincere and concerned question from a kind heart. It’s a question that we’ve heard, in various ways, quite a bit over the past year or so. To be honest, it’s a question that we consider a lot. Chances are, as a preacher, you’ve been asked a similar question numerous times, and one that you’ve asked yourself.
How do you keep going when you’re suffering with a physical illness or when someone you love is dealing with a terminal illness? How do you keep going when you feel emotionally worn down to the point of burnout? How do you keep going when you feel underpaid, under-appreciated, and overworked? How do you keep going when you are struggling in your marriage or with your children? How do you keep going when you are at odds with your elders, co-workers, or a prominent member in the Church? How do you keep going when you feel ineffective, when you feel like a failure in your work for the Lord?
Just a few reminders from my heart. You probably know all of these, but perhaps they will serve as reaffirmation for you.
Remember that we are partners with God in the greatest work in the world. As proclaimers of the Word, we are not dealing in trivia.
Remember that this is, as we often say, the work of the Lord. We are doing His work. The more we come to understand and remember this, the easier it will be for us to keep going.
Remember that whenever we preach the Word of God, we are giving those who hear us what they need to make the most important of all of life’s decisions.
Remember that we are bringing comfort to the broken-hearted, peace to the troubled, and hope to anyone who will obey the Word of God.
Remember that in spite of the difficulties of this life, we have the promise of Heaven. Someday everything in this life will be in the rear-view mirror and our eyes will behold the Glory of the Lord.
By the way, what keeps you going? Feel free to share your thoughts with all of us.
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.