The Gospel for The Pastor
I am continuing with my reading of DA Carson’s book, Memoirs of An Ordinary Pastor, in which he reflects upon the life of his father. At times the book is a bit of a drudgery in reading but that is because it is the life of an ordinary pastor. And in that sense I enjoy even the more boring parts for they reflect my ministry as well. I suspect you have to be a pastor to understand the pastor at least in certain ways, but I also know that the temptations of a pastor are common to all men. Discouragement, despair, and even depression can be close companions for many pastors. I have been pastoring now for 15 years and have learned more and more how much I need to rest in the gospel. The following is a quote out of the book that captures this thought well:
When I was a young man, I heard a D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones comment that he would not go across the street to hear himself preach. Now that I am close to the age he was when I heard him, I am beginning to understand. It is rare for me to finish a sermon without feeling somewhere between slightly discouraged and moderately depressed that I have not preached with more unction, and that I have not articulated these glorious truths more powerfully and with greater insight, and so forth. But I cannot allow that to drive me to despair; rather, it must drive me to a greater grasp of the simple and profound truth that we preach and visit and serve under the gospel of grace, and God accepts us because of his son. I must learn to accept myself not because of my putative successes but because of the merits of God’s Son. The ministry is so open ended that one never feels that all possible work has been done, or done as well as one might like. There are always more people to visit, more study to be done, more preparation to do. What Christians must do, what Christian leaders must do, is constantly remember that we serve our God and Maker every Redeemer under the gospel of grace.