Preachers have it all together, right? They have the direct line to God and have all their problems worked out, don’t they? They preach about happiness, contentment and service to the Lord and they certainly talk about heaven. I guess that have it all figured out, right?
I know a young man who once served his community as a police officer. Day in and day out he responded to one call after another. He finally quit his job. The struggles, crime and violence had taken a toll on his life. He was almost broken. This man who fought for law and order now found himself swirling into chaos. He had to get out.
I’m not sure preachers are much different.
Every day the preacher faces a world firmly in the grip of the evil one. He sees sin in his life and the life of others. Discouragement is not surprising. It’s the norm.
Do not be mistaken. We know what the Bible says about persevering and remaining faithful unto death. We believe that the Lord is in charge and that he will reward the faithful servants.
But we struggle.
Discouragement is probably rooted in our own expectations. When we expect a certain outcome, and it does not happen, we are discouraged. In other words, if everyone lived the way I think they should discouragement would never come. Yeah, right.
Jesus discourages discouragement. In his thinking, discouragement comes when we drift away from him. In Luke 18:1 he reminded his disciples that they should always “pray and not be discouraged” (HCSB). Prayer can both prevent and repair the discouraged heart. But still, our humanness sometimes overwhelms the preacher and discouragement follows.
Congregations can help their preacher avoid discouragement.
- Be a source of encouragement. Pump him up from time to time and let him to know that you really care.
- Be honest with the preacher. Telling him he preached a great sermon when it wasn’t doesn’t really help.
- Seek his counsel and advice only if you are serious about needing his help. Helping those who struggle does not discourage us. But people who play games with their soul discourages the preacher faster than almost anything else.
- Require your preacher to take periodic breaks and vacations. He needs to recharge just like everybody else.
- Pray every day for your preacher. Trust me. He needs it.
Discouragement is just one of those horrible human traits that we all have to deal with sometimes. Preachers are not exempt. Help them so that they can help you more!
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