“Why do you think God has to call people into this work? If it were easy, people would be lining up to volunteer.”
In the second scenario, we should look to what our Lord said to Simon Peter when the apostle grew fidgety and uncomfortable from hearing the difficult news regarding what lay ahead for him. He pointed to the Apostle John. “What about him, Lord?” Jesus answered, “What is that to you? You follow me” (John 21:22).
The typical pastor will not be able to live up to the standards of many of his or her own church members, but he must not envy them, even the most faithful and godly.
If the Lord chooses to bless some ministries and allow the ministers to have higher salaries and better houses, rejoice with them. But to envy them is to second-guess the Holy Spirit, who put you exactly where he wants you.
The typical pastor will be terminated at least once in his ministry career, often by church leaders who care little for his or her situation but are determined to run the church their way. The pastor must not let that embitter him or hinder his ability to serve the next church. If he or she does, the enemy has won a victory.
The typical pastor will be the subject of unrealistic expectations and un-Christ-like demands from some of his people. He or she must stand strong and teach them and pray for them, and then love them even when they refuse to do the right thing. He or she must pray for understanding and patience.
The typical pastor may expect to pay a heavy price from time to time. He must not think he is being singled out or treated unfairly. Worst of all, she must not conclude the Lord misrepresented things to her in his original call.
“You see how they treated me,” Jesus says. “You should expect the same.”
Your day is coming, pastor. And what a glorious day that will be.
Keep your eyes on the prize, my friend.
Joe McKeever spent 42 years pastoring six Southern Baptist churches and has been writing and cartooning for religious publications for more than 40 years. This article was originally published on McKeever’s blog.