Thursday, March 27, 2008

Measuring Up

This was posted over at Pure Church. I so identify with these words that I had to post them. This is an excerpt are from Don Carson's excellent book Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor (pp. 92-93).

"So many aspects of ministry demand excellence, and there are not enough hours in the day to be excellent in all of them. When I was a young man, I heard D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones comment that he would not go across the street to hear himself preach. Now that I am close to the age he was when I heard him, I am beginning to understand. It is rare for me to finish a sermon without feeling somewhere between slightly discouraged and moderately depressed that I have not preached with more unction, that I have not articulated these glorious truths more powerfully and with greater insight, and so forth. But I cannot allow that to drive me to despair; rather, it must drive me to a greater grasp of the simple and profound truth that we preach and visit and serve under the gospel of grace, and God accepts us because of his Son. I must learn to accept myself not because of my putative successes but because of the merits of God’s Son. The ministry is so open-ended that one never feels that all possible work has been done, or done as well as one might like. There are always more people to visit, more studying to be done, more preparation to do. What Christians must do, what Christian leaders must do, is constantly remember that we serve our God and Maker and Redeemer under the gospelof grace."


Eldora said...

I'm not a preacher, but I can relate to the underlying principle - that God's unconditional grace toward me is based on Jesus Christ alone is a truth that I find myself affirming intellectually without a problem. My difficulty is in applying and resting in that truth as I go about my everyday life and evaluate it.

Jenn said...

Wow ... I am so encouraged by this passage. I find myself continually evaluating myself as wife, mother, preschool coordinator, etc. etc. and quite often feel that I am failing to a certain degree in all of them. It is very powerful to remember that in all of these roles I am serving God under the gospel of grace. It is very freeing to be reminded that I don't have to wait for "success" to accept myself ... that I can truly accept myself on the merits of God's Son. If only I was able to grasp this more fully on a daily ... even hourly basis.

Todd Pruitt said...

I have been thinking a lot these days about the role of humility in the lives of not only all believers but Gospel ministers in particular. This is not new. But every so often I am reminded of the utter necessity of humility. The hard part is that the only way we become humble is through humiliations.

The pressure for ministers today is to be super-confident and super-cool. I think, however, that those qualities are not very congruous to Gospel ministry which is about cross-bearing and service.

The good news in all of that is grace. Broken people know they need grace. Humbled people don't have to be convinced that the success of ministry depends wholly on God. That's incredibly liberating.