There are time when I get discouraged. There are times I feel like walking away from the responsibilities that accompany a minister of the Gospel. There are times when Ive been tempted to say I quit! Surprised?
But I wont and I cant. Like Jeremiah of old who voiced his frustration to the Lord when the people mocked his message, ignored his warnings and discouraged him to the point that he was ready to quit preaching (Jer. 20:7-9), so it is with many a preacher today. However, I can also identify with the prophets passion for perseverance and his love for the message of God when he revealed that every time he thought about quitting, . then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it."
If a man cant identify with Jeremiahs "burning fire" to preach, a passion to communicate Gods message, then he should quit. (I suppose that sounds rather blunt but its the way I feel!) However, the passion to preach does not shield Gods servant from common discouragement that results when people neglect the message. Jeremiah certainly was no stranger to discouragement. Neither am I.
For example, I get discouraged when:
1. Ive preached to people for years who ought to obey the gospel but don t. Sometimes I question my ability only to remember that the power is in the message, not the messenger (I Cor, 3:5-7).
2. I see parents who are guilty of "spiritual" child abuse. I know of parents who are lax in their attention dance and who wont bring their kids to Bible classes designed especially for them. Such behavior is inexcusable and violates every passage about parental responsibility in the spiritual nurturing of children. And then I remember the many parents who do care and the burden is somewhat lifted (Prov. 22:6).
3. People argue with what the Book says! Mark16:16 is not my interpretation (which is what one said tome after merely reading the verse!). Yet, people have always tried to argue with God about everything. And in the end, have always lost.
4. Churches promote immorality by ignoring Gods instruction on marriage, divorce and remarriage. Its easy to do. Given the times we are in when few take seriously their vows before God, the simple course is to soft-peddle clear biblical instruction on the subject. And many churches do.
5. 1 see our nation cater to homosexuals and behavior that the Bible condemns in the strongest of terms (Lev. 20:13). There is no question that ours is a society well on the road to moral decay. Such would be disheartening except for the fact that many do care and are fighting for a return to moral responsibility and the principles upon which this country vas founded. Count me in!
Sure, I get discouraged. Sure, Im tempted to quit and walk away. But I wont. And for the reason Jeremiah didnt. There are just some things worth fighting for, and standing above them all are the souls of men.
Me? Quit? Not on your life!
Guardian of Truth XXXVII: 9, p. 5