Our approachability is vital. Our integrity is at stake.
“Did you read my email?” A ministry friend asked me this question – he was following up on an earlier promotion that had sent me. At times like this you have several choices: lie, act dumb, or admit the truth. By the time the question was posed (truthfully) I could not remember the email correspondence. My answer was, “I cannot remember getting the promotion.”
Are you ever guilty of worshipping yourself? What a disturbing possibility! In his book, Dangerous Calling, Paul David Tripp says, “Perhaps in ministry there is no more potent intoxicant than the praise of men, and there is no more dangerous form of drunkenness than to be drunk with your own glory.” (p. 167)
Years ago I cut an article from a magazine entitled, “In Spite Of.” The writer, J.B. Fowler, was editor of a Christian newspaper. Fowler referenced people who had significant life accomplishments “in spite of” challenging circumstances. Some of the examples he used included:
Have you ever been envious of another church or another minister? Come on, all of us have been affected by such emotions!
As a young preacher I sometimes dreamed of walking in Billy Graham’s shoes. As a pastor I sometimes dreamed of leading the next Saddleback. Our desire to reach such heights varies in intensity and scope, but it is there.
Several days ago I found myself riding a wave. A wave is one of those times when you feel high, emotionally, spiritually and physically. During this phase I relish ministry and enjoyed little things, such as listening to a favorite preacher.
Last Friday I came home from work and was struck with a strange emotion, panic. That was unusual. I had not felt such emotion in some time. We Christians are, in theory, supposed to have it all together. And we pastors are to be an example to everyone else. Right!
Today while reading J.D. Greear’s book, Jesus Continued, I was struck with a disturbing challenge. The challenge to Do Nothing! This thought was expressed within the context of a chapter on the Holy Spirit.
Greear develops his thoughts from Jesus words to the disciples in Luke 24:29. “I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”
Jesus instructed the disciples to Do Nothing but to wait. Doing nothing is not in the DNA of most pastors.
Are you as busy as you think? In looking back at my years of ministry I often struggled with a question: “How busy am I?” All of us know that pastors are extremely busy. That is a fact! However, there have been times when I was my own worst enemy. I perceived myself to be too busy.
Do you ever wonder what you would do differently if you could start over in ministry? As I draw closer to retirement age (I am 64) I find myself pondering this question more often. The beginning of a new year also challenges us to reflect on new beginnings. (We call them resolutions.)