Why Are Pastors Discouraged?

The Pastor's Desk

reflections from the shepherds heart...

Why Pastors Become Discouraged
I've had this conversation several times in the last couple of months. There is a perception that pastors are discouraged a lot I guess... perhaps that's true, but not for the reason(s) you would think. Many people ask how difficult it is to preach and not have anyone respond immediately. That's actually really easy to deal with. We trust in God's sovereignty and know that His word always does what He sent it out to accomplish. So, why are many pastors discouraged?

The difficulty comes not when people aren't saved or receive salvation immediately following a sermon, although seeing people surrender their lives to God's call with everything they are is truly awesome. I think I can speak for many pastors in saying this, the frustration and discouragement that follows, comes when those who claim to be followers of Christ don't do it. As I was preparing for this week's sermon, I came across this quote from Charles Spurgeon's commentary on Philippians 4:1.

You see, your pastor's joy comes from the Lord and serving Him in the way he was called, which mens that they equip you for the work of the ministry, expose the work of the evil one around you, and call you to a life of faithful obedience. When he sees those he shepherds follow the voice of Jesus, who said in John 10, "The sheep follow Him because they know his voice. They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don't know the voice of strangers," he knows that you are in good hands rather than in danger.

Your pastor wants you to have abundant life, not to become entangled in the schemes of the one who seeks only to steal, kill, and destroy. So, when he sees those who claim to know Christ go down a path that leads you away from Him, not into His protection, we become discouraged. At that point, it seems like our work is in vein. It feels like no one is listening and the efforts of our lives are pointless. Admittedly, these feelings can show a lack of dependence on God to work in the lives of those in the body. However, the fact remains that watching someone who calls themselves a follower of Jesus, do or say things to others in the same body, that hurts the pastors heart because it breaks God's heart.

Rather than having the joy of seeing believers grow and reflect Jesus to a lost and dying world as they build one another up, the heartache of seeing hurt and brokenness drains the life from the pastor. My encouragement to you today is this: learn the voice of the Shepherd, listen to Him, faithfully follow Him, and the peace of the Lord will be with you... and your pastor.

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