I take my hat off to pastor’s, missionaries and other full time christian workers. Their responsibilities are as many as the sand on the sea shore. They are often lonely, misjudged, over-burdened and under-appreciated. It is common, because of the public nature of many of their roles, that they are unfairly scrutinized. Not much grace is given for a minister of the gospel who has a bad day or mishandles a situation. Its so easy to sit back in your armchair and talk with friends about all thats wrong with this pastor or that missionary. Do remember this: I Tim 5:19 says, “Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.” Don’t gossip about your pastor, elder or spiritual leader. God will contend on behalf of the righteous. Are you more righteous then they? Tread carefully. Your grievance better be more than “He/She chaffs me the wrong way” or “why can’t he/she do it this way.”
With that being said, ministers of the gospel are to be held accountable. So what should be the minister of the Gospel’s primary responsibility be?
I was asked that question by an church elder a few years back. His church was in the process of calling a new pastor to their church and needed to articulate their expectations. My answer? “Your pastor’s primay responsibility is to fall deeply in love with Jesus.” You might say that answer is over simplistic or super spiritual. Is it? I don’t think so at all.
Consider these great men of God:
George Mueller- This radical man of faith was frequently prone to illness. Because of his weak body it is said that he would “sleep in” until 6-6:30! However after noting a weakening in his relationship with God, he chose rather to have a weaker body for the sake of a stronger walk with God. So he returned to his earlier habit of rising at 4-4:30 each day in order to spend time communing with Christ.
Jonathan Edwards-Often called the father of the great awakening and the man who preached the sermon “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” It is said that people cried out in agony of their sin as he preached. Edwards would spend great portions of his day alone in the woods praying and contemplating scripture.
John Wesley- The man of God used to call England back to God. He set his alarm for 4 in the morning just to begin the day with at least two hours of devotions. He rigorously kept a daily diary to record personal thoughts and scripture verses that were meaningful to him.
These men were in love with Christ. Who wouldn’t want to support one of these guys as your pastor or missionary?! Sadly I think, if they were in ministry today, they would be accused of “wasting time” for dedicated such large proportions of their time to seemingly “unproductive” things.
Remember this though. They were not interested is pleasing people or putting in their time. They were serving the Living God. And as such they were much more concerned about their relationship with Him than whether or not they met everyones expectations.
They “abided in the vine,” not in the church building. They bore much fruit and fruit that lasted. Then they were pruned so that they bore even more fruit!
Consider the lion. A Lion spends up to 20 hours a day in a state of vigilant rest. They are acutely aware of their surroundings and possible prey. They rest, yet at a moments notice they can explode with ferocious strength upon their prey. I once saw footage of a man shooting repeatedly at a male lion as it charge him until finally it leaped on him and literally died on top of the man. Could the lion possess such strength if it first did not gather it? Never. It eats its meal, goes under a tree and rests while it digests the food. The food is then turned into energy that gives the Lion its explosive strength. What is the secret strength of a great minister of the Gospel? They “eat”the word of God, they are filled with Spirit, they are vigilant and engage ministry with the supernatural strength of the Holy Spirit. They are like lions.
My dear fellow minister: listen to me. Your job description is first and foremost to fall in love with God. It is your privilege to be paid to do this! That means it should be the largest item on your agenda and longest appointment in your daily calendar. Do not be ashamed of spending the time when others say you should be doing this or that. Do not cave in to the pressure.
My dear fellow believer: Your calling is no different. Do remember this though: encourage the ones whom you support in “full time ministry” to spend a large portion of their day devoted to knowing Christ and falling in love with him. It is their primary responsibility. In fact, if you hold them accountable to anything it should be this! In so doing they will be like cups running over with abundance. Springs of living water flowing to you with freshness and power.