Did anyone prepare you in seminary for the routine rigor of dying? Even when we occasionally heard that pastoring would be hard I don’t think we got the message that it was lethal. And repetitive! Jesus said that all his followers must take up their cross. All Christians must engage in dying when we walk with Jesus. But I think ministry leaders, if their souls are sensitive, are subject to more dying, deeper dying, than many others.
Pastors don’t have to always be upbeat, thank goodness, but we must be living displays of hope in Christ, hope here and now, and hope hereafter. We must be heavenly minded if we are to be of any earthly good. When David prayed for God’s protection in Psalm 16 he described the parapets of his security…
Sometimes, trying to quiet our fears is like trying to tuck an octopus into bed. How many nights have you tried to sleep all tangled in your worries about the church, your family, your finances, or your own well-being? We need to know how to pray in those times because they won’t let go of us unless we do. We won’t be able to sing, “It is well with my soul,” without prayer. It’s always true, but you can’t always sing it.
Now this season of the Great Interruption is a good time to step outside to stand by your church’s lampstand and listen. Be quiet. Be humble.
Lead your brothers and sisters to this homeland they have never seen. When they feel like they live in dangerous dark alleys, we take them again to Mt. Stronghold, to the heavenly Jerusalem—their “foundation of peace.”
We will come to Easter Sunday as reluctant soloists, with only our own voices, without the band or choir, guitar or organ. Now we really must sing by faith, not only our faith in Christ but our faith that our single voices will be joined with countless others “before the throne of God above…”