Hopefully our divine calling from our Creator is enough to keep us motivated and passionate about the task to which we have been called. However, the combination of discouragement, harsh criticism, and watching our people suffer can act as a perfect storm that can deaden the desire of the most passionate and motivated of pastors. In these moments, allow the counsel of John Angell James from his book, An Earnest Ministry, to remind us how to continue to cultivate that passion to minister the gospel and shepherd God’s people:
Every minister can be an earnest minister if he so wills: he is earnest when any thing in which he has a deep interest is at stake. Let his house be on fire, or his health or life be in danger, or his wife or child be in peril, or some means of greatly augmenting his property be thrown in his way, and what intensity of emotion and vehemence of action will be excited in Him! He needs but the pressure upon his conscience of the interests of immortal souls; his needs but a heart so constrained by the love of Christ, as to be borne away by the force and impetuosity of that hallowed passion; he needs but a longing desire to be wise in winning men to Jesus; he needs, in fine, but a heart fully set to accomplish the ends and objects of his office, to possess that high and noble quality of soul which it is the object of this work to recommend.
Even in the darkness of discouragement, let us be excited by these things that move our Lord and should be that which moves us to a radical faithfulness to the gospel, God’s word, and to our people.