Pastor's, Hold Fast

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A website called The Job Network looked at which fields have the highest quit rate.
5: Long distance truckers
The Reason: Long hours away from their family.
4: Hospitality.
The Reason: Emotional burnout from dealing with difficult clients.
3: Funeral embalmers
The Reason: Spiritual fatigue from dealing with death.
2: Mine workers
The Reason: Health issues from the job.
1: Christian ministers.
The Reason: Soul crushing discouragement.
How ironic that those who dedicate their lives to encouraging others are themselves starved for a single word of encouragement.
Well Pastors, be encouraged today.
Our congregants do not understand.
For many even our wives do not understand.
But we are fellow labourers, we understand.
And most importantly: The Good Shepherd who called you: He understands.
To all of us who are called The Lord says:
Hebrews 10:23–25 NASB 2020
23 Let’s hold firmly to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let’s consider how to encourage one another in love and good deeds, 25 not abandoning our own meeting together, as is the habit of some people, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Hold fast.

Some of us face opposition, perhaps from peers within our own denomination or from members in the pew who want us to join them in abandoning the doctrines of Christianity or to downplay the necessity to experience those doctrines in a personal and spiritual way.
Brothers, we are called to “hold fast our profession” and keep the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation.
Some of us labor in situations where little growth is evident, numerical or spiritual.
We are confronted with a painful lack of practical godliness and hunger for communion with God.
We are confronted daily with unbelief, with apathy, with ignorance, with spiritual deadness, or with man-centered worldliness.
Such signs of spiritual declension are enough to crush the soul of any servant of God and bring us to tears of sorrow and grief.
Yet the call comes to us to “hold fast our profession,” even in an evil day.
We are called too labor in the midst of the moral climate of a nation in which humanism is dominant, in which there is little regard for the holiness of God’s name, the authority of His Word, or the demands of His law.
Many are such fools as to say that there is no God; there is no fear of God before their eyes, and God is not in all their thoughts.
When we are discouraged and ask with Isaiah, “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” (Isa. 53:1),
We are called to “hold fast our profession.”
Perhaps we are burdened with overwork. We labor under the endless demands of pastoral counseling, church administration, and sermon preparation.
We may work through the week but come to the Lord’s Day still feeling woefully unprepared to preach the Word and find ourselves exhausted at the end of the “day of rest.”
Here too we are called to “hold fast our profession.”
We may find our souls in agony and yearn to see broken human beings brought to faith and restored after the image of Christ.
When we say with Moses that our hands grow heavy in intercession and confess with the apostle Paul,
“I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19),
We are called to “hold fast our profession.”
Some of us are crippled by debilitating loneliness—perhaps having no congenial or like-minded colleagues in our locality.
Maybe we feel deprived of kindred spirits who share our longing for the vital, experiential reality of the doctrines of grace we proclaim.
Then too we are called “to hold fast our profession.”
To be a minister of the gospel in our day is often to tread a lonely path. In 1989 a hundred different occupations were surveyed and rated in terms of loneliness, and the second-loneliest job on the list was that of minister of the Word. Number one was a night watchman.
Doesn’t that tell us something?
We are performing a lonely task, as men who watch for the souls of others, but even then the call comes: “Hold fast.”
Our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, went alone to tread the winepress of the wrath of God on our behalf.
Some of us labor in the midst of strife and disunity within our own flocks.
A minority of vocal members spreads foolish accusations and slanderous gossip that wound our fellow Christians, divide our churches, and grieve our souls.
The group of critics perhaps is small as a percentage of the congregation, but the damage they do is disproportionately large.
They cause you great grief.
They provoke a tendency to defensiveness in you.
They engender bitterness within your soul.
They force you into situations sometimes where it seems whatever you say or do will land you in trouble.
And again, the advice is draw near to the throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace to help you in your time of need, and hold fast your profession.
Pastoral ministry lacks criteria for measuring success, yet most ministers (disclaimers aside) long to see tangible results of their work. Yet setting numerical goals in ministry is like grasping at the wind.
On what basis do we measure?
Numbers? No, demonic mega churches show us that numbers mean nothing.
Finances? No, we are not called to make money and the only disciples who worried about the money was Judas.
Pastors: Hold fast and take the advice of John Flavel when he says:
The labours of the ministry will exhaust the very marrow from your bones, hasten old age and death.
They are fitly compared to the toil of men in harvest, to the labours of a woman in travail, and to the agonies of soldiers in the extremity of a battle.
We must watch when others sleep.
And indeed it is not so much the expense of our labours, as the loss of them, that kills us.
It is not with us, as with other labourers: They find their work as they leave it, so do not we.
Sin and Satan unravel almost all we do, the impressions we make on our people’s souls in one sermon, vanish before the next.…
Yea, we must fight in defense of the truths we preach, as well as study them to paleness, and preach them unto faintness: but well-spent head, lungs, and all; welcome pained breasts, aching backs, and trembling legs; if we can by all but approve ourselves Christ’s faithful servants, and hear that joyful voice from his mouth, “Well done, good and faithful servants.”
As a fellow Labrour, I say to all of you: Well done my good and faithful brothers!
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