He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe. It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.(Ephesians 4:10-13).
It was hard for me to get out of bed on the Sunday following Christmas Day. I had been up late the night before and all I wanted to do was sleep. We ended up going to church anyway. The Pastor and some members of the leadership team were in attendance and the church service was every bit as worshipful as always. I wondered if they had found it hard to crawl out of bed too or if they somehow had superhuman strength and that the daily grind doesn’t get to them. Fact is, I know they get every bit as tired and weary as we do, but they press on just the same.
We have a pastoral team with responsibility for different areas. They work in the church office Monday to Friday and most of them are there on Sundays too. We have needs – they are there to help with the answers. We suffer losses – they are there to offer comfort. We have questions – they help us find the answers. The thought in my head is ‘who ministers to the Minister’ ? When the cares of life have worn them down and the pressures get to boiling point, who prays them through the dark times? Who offers a word of comfort in the midst of their pain? Who ministers to the Ministers?
Sometimes we forget that full-time ministry is a job. It requires the same (if not a greater) level of commitment than some secular professions. We place them on pedestals and shove them under microscopes. We know they’re human but we expect them to be there all the time with the right answer to the need we have. We call them when we need someone to pray. We call on them when we need someone to help us deal with our life issues. When was the last time you prayed (seriously prayed) for your Pastor or his family or those who sit in leadership positions in your church?
A few weeks ago I decided to pray for the needs of others instead of my own … that was the hardest week of my life. Today I’m asking you to pray for those who have been praying for you. Your Pastor, your Pastors’ Council, your Pastoral team or whoever sits in any position of leadership in your church. People management can be a bit of a challenge but the grace of God is more than sufficient.
Would you take some time today to minister to those who have been ministering to you? Perhaps a phone call, an email or a visit may be in order..? We’re at the close of one year and on the threshold of another. Do take some time this week to pray for them. Only God knows what lies ahead but we can ask Him to order their steps. Amazing things happen when God’s people pray!
Father, I’m thankful for those who have answered the call to full-time ministry. I’m thankful for those who have been there over the years to offer support, wise counsel and encouragement. I pray Your hand would always be upon them, that You would strengthen and protect and cover them under Your wings as they go about the business of ministering to Your flock. I pray You would protect them and those who are dear to them. Teach them how to create a balance between family time and the work that you’ve called them to do. Teach them your way, O LORD, and they will walk in your truth; give them an undivided heart, that they may fear Your name (Psalm 86:11). Show us how best to support their efforts to fulfil Your calling in their lives and “moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against You in ceasing to pray for them”. (1 Sam 12:23)
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