Today, I find myself thinking of discouraged pastors. I have met a few of them recently and spoken with them one to one. These are never easy conversations, but Jesus somehow comes to be part of them most times.
If you are a pastor of a congregation let me just remind you that though it is good to talk and good to listen and learn from others, no one is precisely your shape in your shape of congregation. Taking well meaning advice from someone and trying to put it into practice in your shape and your shape of congregation may be like trying to hammer a very perfectly and beautifully formed square peg into a round hole.
I found myself thinking of Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 today. I do no not believe the interpretation of these chapters, which as you will know contain letters from Jesus to the angels of seven churches that existed in the days of the Apostle John, to be a coded looking at the progress of church history leading to the idea that we are now in the “Laodicean age.” Christianity must not be turned into a gnostic religion or a mystery religion which only initiates who have been give a secret knowledge or code hidden from the rest of us can understand. There is nothing whatsoever in the text to suggest such an interpretation is even remotely possible. Rather this is Jesus speaking unique messages to unique churches. There are lessons in each of the letters that we can and must learn for our own situations, lessons that have been relevant down through all the centuries and will continue to be so no matter how many centuries or millennia of earthly history remain before Jesus comes to the earth again.
If you are a pastor, nobody knows your situation as well as you and as well as Jesus. By all means listen and learn from others, but they are not you and not in your situation. Applying a package of advice, even though it seems to be Scriptural advice may not bring the results it brought for another, indeed it may bring damage and destruction and an eve deeper distress and despair that you may be in at this moment.
Take time to listen to Jesus. Listen to His encouragement. Listening to what He says requires attention. Give that attention and take a much needed rest from comparing yourself unfavourably with others in other situations.
Yes, a bit like the advice of Job’s ‘comforters’: seemed very wise and spiritual on the surface, but bore no relation to nor took account of Job’s real situation, nor God’s reasons for testing him.
Pastors have the same enemy as sheep, the father of discouragement, Satan the devil.But Jesus said look UP TO ME,I’m your encourage, I’m your guide. Be still and KNOW ME. Psm 127v1 Unless the Lord builds the church, they labour in vain. Many churches are powerless because the lack equal measure of Father,Son and Holy Spirit in the church. May Pastors gather the shee around him/her and Pray Pray Pray.
2 Chronicles 7v14.