Dear fellow laborers in the Lord’s harvest field:
“I’ve always encouraged my children to consider the public ministry for their life’s work, but now… I don’t know.” That was the very honest comment of a congregation member troubled by all the recent struggles and pressures that congregations and pastors in our fellowship have faced.
How would you answer her?
Have you had questions yourself?
Interviewers often ask people ranging from doctors to athletes, “Would you encourage your child to follow in your footsteps?” The response, of course, is a good barometer of the person’s attitude toward their work. Would you encourage or do you encourage your child and others to prepare for the public ministry of the Word?
Preaching the Word of God, either from the pulpit or in the classroom, will never be an easy, financially lucrative, or popular calling. Jesus told the disciples: “A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master….If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!” (Matthew 10:24-25)
The Word will not always be welcomed with open ears. It is not a pleasant thing to confront sin and call a straying sheep to repentance. Your most loving efforts may be met with sharp words which leave painful wounds on your heart. When the world does all it can to undermine everything the Lord has you proclaim, the effort can seem like a lost cause. Besides all that, each of us has our old adam which continually nags us to surrender.
So what is the up side? Is there one? Where can we go for encouragement? The Lord is always there for us with rest, refreshment, and renewed purpose. Remember His promise: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We can leave our fears, failures, and doubts with Him—and in exchange He gives us the peace of forgiveness and the joy of serving Him who laid down His holy life for us.
St. Paul wrote young Pastor Timothy: “If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task” (1 Timothy 3:1). The public ministry is a blessed work, for one is called by the Lord of the Church to be His ambassador in announcing God’s love and salvation to fellow sinners.
What a high privilege to be entrusted with the holy Word! What an exciting assignment to share unqualified, unconditional, glorious news which everyone desperately needs!
What a wonder to be Jesus’ personal representative in holding the hand of the hospitalized believer and giving the assurance that Jesus is the One who “forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases”
What an awesome work to use the Lord’s Word to bring a young person to repent of the sin which put their soul at risk! “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).
What a heartfelt joy to sing with a little one, “Jesus loves me, this I know…”!
Heading back inside after VBS recess one morning, a little preschool girl bounced along beside me and asked, “Pastor, do you like going to church?” I answered, “Yes, I do—very much!” She quickly agreed that it was good being in the Lord’s house.
May the Lord continually refresh our hearts and renew our joy and appreciation for the salvation He has won for us and for the amazing calling He has given us.
May we by word and example encourage many “sons and daughters” to prayerfully consider preparing for the public ministry.
“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38).
With prayers for joy in your labor,
Please join us in praying that God’s Spirit would move the hearts of young men and women within our synodical fellowship to consider the preaching or teaching ministry as their privileged career calling. — Editor