The demands of pastoral ministry are high, not only as it relates to the potential workload but especially to the character of the men that are called to it.
I’ve embarked on a journey. I have no idea where it will end up but I know where I don’t want it to end. In disgrace. I will remove myself quickly if I ever bring reproach to the name of Christ. That is a higher responsibility to me than holding onto an idea that I have about myself or my “potential”.
No, there is a lot at stake here. There are many that have shipwrecked their own “faith” but have also ruined their reputation and sullied the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are “posers” out there; those that profess to be something they really are not.
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
My youth is not in question, but how about the rest of this? This is serious business.
Matthew Henry lays it out so beautifully:
Those who teach by their doctrine must teach by their life. Their discourse must be edifying; their conversation must be holy; they must be examples of love to God and all good men, examples of spiritual-mindedness. Ministers must mind these things as their principal work and business. By this means their profiting will appear in all things, as well as to all persons; this is the way to profit in knowledge and grace, and also to profit others.
Many men can say one thing, or be something in certain settings, but how does he live in private? Is his personal life, the same as his ministerial life? Is he a man you want to emulate in all manner of living? This is the true test of the man. The character of this man is revealed in private. Ask those closest to him how he lives? Here you will find answers.
In Dave Harvey’s book Am I Called? he says this about a man’s ordination service where the pastor’s wife was asked to speak about her husband:
She shared about the effect of her husband’s gospel-inspired example upon her and the kids. She said, “He’s the same at home as he appears at church; no double standards, no duplicity. If you shot footage of our family, you’d see no surprises.” The wife’s words testified loudly to the man’s life. They spoke volumes to the church, both about the man’s leadership and about the God this man was called to represent.
This is a high calling and one that should be embarked upon with great concern and caution. May the Lord give grace to those whom He has called to live a life that is pleasing and acceptable in His sight.