Endurance (Perils of Shepherds)

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Today's blog post is a series of quotes from David Hansen's book "The Art of Pastoring".  It is what God keeps teaching me and what I struggle with.  The title of this section in the book is "Endurance."

"The fact that we are called by God to love a particular person does not mean that the recipient of love will like it."
"We cherish our sin, we clutch it, it kills us but we love it.  The gospel demands that we choose life, rejecting sin and its ungodly demands.  So the love of God in the gospel works like a surgeon.  Cutting out sin's cancer, with pain like death, the gospel heals."
"Most of us don't like the surgical role of the gospel.  This is why we need God's specific definition of love to guide us in our work.  Every time the parishioner winces ever so slightly, we want to stop pastoring." [Do I ever!]  "As Kerkegaard says, the pastor must 'above all be able to put up with all the rudeness of the sick person without letting it upset him, any more than a physician allows himself to be disturbed by the curses and kicks of a patient during an operation.'
"The ministry in all its parts-preaching, teaching, visitation, spiritual direction, church discipline, church politics-works under the Lord's sovereign hand to excise the pernicious tumor of sin from the parishioners we love.  The process causes the Old Man to scream, bite, claw, threaten, slancer, and accuse.
"Enduring this abuse is quite necessary.  No pastor in his or her right mind likes it.  Quite a few people, highly qualified for pastoral ministry in every other way, find this to be the point of impossibility for them.  They must find other places to serve in Christ's kingdom.  I still don't know whether I can take it.  I take the problems one at a time as best I can.  Enduring is never a triumph.  It just happens."  -pgs 38-39

This is probably my #1 struggle in ministry.  God is still working on both me and my wife in this department.  God continues to teach me of my own inadequacy.  It is only Him that can do anything.  May God sustain us all rather than us relying on our own coping skills!  :)

1 comment

Comment from: Chris Beaudoin [Visitor]
Chris Beaudoin
This is good stuff Ira, and ever so true. I think it's a natural consequence to working with people that you will hit this stuff head on - every time, and it is TOUGH to do. I know that when we work with people it is messy , but ever so worth it. But man, you're right.... really hard to do.
01/16/14 @ 16:52


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