Friday, May 05, 2006

John Calvin on Discouragement

As I've been preparing a sermon on the subject of "Dealing with Discouragement," I've thought a lot about it, especially as it relates how pastors (including myself) are often beset by discouragement and even depression. John Stott has said that "discouragement is the occupational hazard of the Christian ministry." He's right.

Even the great Reformer John Calvin suffered from discouragement. He made the following observations:
~ "Today hardly one in a hundred considers how difficult and arduous it is faithfully to
discharge the office of pastor."
~ "The crushing effect of a general though false consensus against us is a hard temptation
and one almost impossible to resist."
~ "I am entangled in so many troublesome affairs that I am almost beside myself."
~ "You can scarcely believe what a burden of troublesome business I am weighed down
and oppressed by here."
~ "In addition to the immense troubles by which I am so sorely consumed, there is almost
no day on which some new pain or anxiety does not come."
~ "The wisest servants of God sometimes weaken in the middle of the course, especially
when the road is rough and obstructed and the way more painful than expected. How much
more, then, should we ask God that He never withdraw the aid of His power among the
various conflicts that harass us, but rather that he instill us continually with new strength in
proportion to the violence of our conflicts."
(William Bouwsma, "John Calvin: A Sixteenth Century Portrait")

Most pastors have experienced some, if not all, of what Calvin observes. We definitely need your continued prayers.


Post a Comment

<< Home