We think we are having a bad day when we spill coffee on our pants, until we learn that our next door neighbor was just diagnosed with stage three breast cancer. Suddenly, that coffee stain doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. We are furious with ourselves after receiving a speeding ticket on the way to work, until we hear that Bob in accounting just lost a daughter in a tragic car accident the night before. Perspective changes the way we see everything.
Making this a bit more personal, sometimes, we bury ourselves so deep in our own complicated and challenging life that we fail to take into account our broader context – which could provide encouragement if we only had eyes to see. Sometimes, we need a friend to help us take a step back and see a bigger picture our closeness to a situation has not allowed us to see.
That’s one of the reasons why I have enjoyed taking hundreds of business leaders to third world countries, to meet indigenous pastors and business leaders. Every time, every time, the Americans return home humbled, thankful and filled with a fresh perspective.
At PastorServe, one of our primary roles to help pastors gain a fresh perspective. At times, a pastor is so deeply buried in conflict that they can’t see the many ways in which the Lord has used them to bring gospel transformation to darkened hearts. Sometimes our job is to remind pastors of what they already know. In Titus 3:1, Peter instructs Titus to “remind them…” In other words, this isn’t going to be anything new. I’m not going to teach you anything. I’m simply here to remind you of what you already know.
Recently, a pastor (I’ll call him John – not his real name) found himself in the midst of an enormous struggle that threatened the future of the church he had faithfully pastored for nearly a decade. The conflict came from the outside and was not of John’s doing. He found himself discouraged, questioning the Lord’s leading wondering if he would have been better never to have planted the church. By God’s providence (this is no coincidence), the night before I was to meet with John, I ran into a member of his congregation who recounted a story to me from 2008 when John had deeply ministered to her. And, as a result of her being so lovingly pastored, she was able to extend similar care to a close friend who found herself in a parallel situation in 2016. The woman told me, “It was only because John cared for me and my family that God allowed me to care for my friend.” The next morning I was able to share that story with John. Not surprisingly, he broke down and wept. He had lost his perspective. A simple reminder of how the Lord had used him brought renewed hope.
At PastorServe, we often meet with pastors who are in the midst of mighty struggles. We hear heartbreaking words like: Downhearted, hurt, exhausted, angry, depressed, hopeless, despairing, frustrated, isolated, lonely, invalidated and rejected.
We have the privilege of reminding them of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We remind them that in Christ, they are loved, forgiven, treasured, justified, adopted, righteous, clean, hopeful, free, accepted, pardoned, secure and blessed. In other words, we remind them of what they already know.
Those words are true of you as well. In Christ, you are loved, treasured, secure and blessed.
Thank you for your amazing partnership in 2016. We could not do the work of this ministry apart from partners like you. The needs before us have never been larger. The challenges have never been greater. And yet, the opportunities have never been so incredible.
Through the power of the Gospel, the Lord is using PastorServe to bring deep life transformation to pastors, chaplains and ministry leaders across the country.