As 2017 draws to a close, it is a time of reflection for many of us. Has this year been stress-free for me? No. Has it been trial free? No. Has it been hard work? Yes!
But, in the midst of all this, I can freely and firmly acknowledge that I love doing what I do. That is to pastor sheep in the church of God and in particularly within the context of my own denomination: The Evangelical Presbyterian Church in England and Wales.
Earlier in the year during a time of study at Tyndale House in Cambridge, I spoke to a PhD research student during one of their famous coffee breaks. These coffee breaks are famous because of the vital interaction that takes place during them among people studying there. I explained that I had a PhD, but the real action, in my view, is to be found on the frontline of pastoring in the church. I explained that in my opinion all the best preachers in church history had been pastors. Just think of John Calvin, Martyn Lloyd-Jones and so on. This researcher was thrilled to hear that I love my vocation because he thought that many pastors often give the impression that their life is a drudge.
The life of a minister is demanding, varied, challenging, humbling and hard work. But, to think that I get to handle the precious Word of God every day, to be able to herald and proclaim it, to be devoted to a life of prayer for the good of the church, to train men and women for godliness, to educate and mentor young men setting out in ministry. Indeed it is a joy and I love it!
None-the-less, pray for the Lord's ministers and seek out a church where the pastor can truly say that he loves caring for and feeding the flock of God.
Hebrews 13:17-18 "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Pray for us".