“It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to seek one’s own honor.” (Proverbs 25:27 , New Heart English Bible)
Samuel Chadwick was a great preacher who believed that he must prepare his heart to enter the pulpit. Just before he entered the sanctuary, he would read Revelation 5. Just try it next Sunday, pastor: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise! . . . To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:12–13). As you read that chapter, imagine yourself at the throne. You can’t help but be lifted into heavenly places. Your spirit will be ready to preach.
The quality of your spirit is important not only as you enter the pulpit but also when you exit the pulpit. People will say positive things about your preaching; however, never let it affect you too much, insteadgive the praise to God.
People will also say negative things and find fault with your preaching. Don’t let that affect you too much either. Give that also to God! Don’t take it personally. If you have preached what God gave you, you don’t need to be defensive or arrogant.
I had a conversation some time ago with a retired district superintendent. He told me about a difficult time in his life: While pastoring, he faced some tough situations. Another minister was acting erratically and saying things about him that were not true.
My friend made an appointment to meet with General Superintendent Hardy C. Powers. For a couple of hours, my friend poured out his heart to Dr. Powers. He went on and on about his problem colleague. Finally, he was done talking and ready to receive the sage advice of the general superintendent.
Dr. Powers simply said, “Friend, the quality of our spirit is our stock and trade in the ministry.”
My friend waited for something more to be said, but that was all Dr. Powers said. At first, my friend was disappointed with the answer, but after pondering it that afternoon, he realized the importance of it. Pastor, it’s all we have. If you lose the good spirit God has blessed you with, you are done. As you think back on the great ministers you have known, they all had different gifts and different preaching styles, but they all had the same beautiful Christ-like spirit. That spirit burned brightly in the good times and the bad.
As you think, you may be able to remember some bitter preachers. They were probably people who were hurt so many times that they could not shake off the bitterness. Sadly, that kind of spirit will not win people to Jesus; it will repulse them. Some preachers have trouble understanding authority. They think their title of “pastor” entitles them to respect and authority. But authority does not automatically come with the title; it comes with a temperament. You cannot expect, ask, or want authority. Real authority can’t be demanded—it must be given. It will be given to the preacher who earns it by loving people, by serving people, by depending on other people, and by trusting people. Jesus exhibited this kind of spirit, andHe was a man with great authority.
No matter the pain or the glory, pastor, keep a good spirit. “The quality of your spirit is your stock and trade in the ministry.”
Taken from From Pastor to Pastor © 2003 by Bob Broadbooks, Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City, Mo., pp. 75–76. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.