December 11, 2008
I had a recent appointment with a young pastor who came to to ask me questions about the ministry. As we spoke together, he brought out a notebook and asked, “You have been in the ministry for a long time. If you could have done anything differently, what would that be?”
I told him that I would make sure to take a day off every week.
When I was a young pastor, I did ministry seven days a week. I loved the Lord and I had a lot of energy. I wanted to do everything possible to help others know that Jesus Christ is alive. I warned this young leader that a person can get into trouble doing too many good things, just like we can get ourselves into trouble by doing bad things. As we grow older, our vision for what we hope our lives will accomplish continues to grow, but our energy level drops. If we continue to live at a pace that is too intense it wears us down and robs us of our health. I learned this lesson the hard way and spent four weeks in hospitals in 1994 recuperating from exhaustion.
I encouraged my new friend to guard his marriage. Staying close to your wife is essential for a healthy marriage. Ministry has many blessings as well as temptations. Some leaders blow up their marriages because they have lost touch with their spouse in the busyness of ministry.
A lot of what people perceive success in ministry as simply the recognition of men. All of us who abide in Christ bear fruit for the Lord. It appears that some are much more fruitful than others; but in reality, we are all sharing in the great work of building the body of Christ and we will all be rewarded by God for our labor.
After our talk, I was left with a strong impression of this young pastor. It is not what I told him that will make all the difference in his life. The fact that he is seeking wisdom from other leaders shows something special about him. The fact that he is humble and wise enough to make an appointment, ask the questions, and take down notes, gives me confidence that God will reward him with insights and understanding.
Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.”
May we all keep asking, seeking and knocking on the Lord’s door.
The Lord of heaven wants to give us wisdom and understanding because he is committed to the expansion of His kingdom. He loves to bless us. That is why God sent Jesus to give his life for us.