by Jim Schlottman
This past Sunday, my pastor, Don Sweeting spoke on “Courage.” As I listened to his sermon I couldn’t help but think about the courage it takes to be a pastor. I’ve often said that the church is the most dangerous place for a pastor, but that is where God called pastors to serve.
Today you may be feeling fearful of that dangerous place. You may be suffering an attack from someone in your church, or you may be feeling the pain of criticism of a member of your family. Your preaching the truth in love may be responded to with hate.
Do you have the courage to face the perils in this dangerous place we call the church?
Dictionary.com defines courage as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear.” I don’t agree with that “without fear” part. Everyone I’ve read about or met who has exhibited courage did it in spite of their fears. According to Pastor Don, “Courage is not the absence of fear but a proper handling of fear.”
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come . . . . to enable us to serve him without fear.” Luke 1: 68-78 (NIV)
I like Webster’s dictionary better than dictionary.com where it says that “courage is the quality that allows one to face danger or adversity with confidence.” It is the source of that confidence that makes the difference. God is that source of confidence.
In Acts 22-24 we read about Paul in various types of danger. At least four times he was put in danger. He was dragged to the temple by an angry mob that tried to kill him. Then the Roman soldiers attempted to flog him. After that he was caught in the middle of a violent dispute between the Sadducees and the Pharisees. Next thing you know forty men were plotting to kill him.
So did God help? God put a detachment of two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen to take him away safely. Only our God could protect us with all that fire power. And you have that fire power available to you. It may not be in the form of four hundred and seventy soldiers, but He is just as powerful today.
In 1 Corinthians 16: 13-14 (TNIV) we are told, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.”
The church will always be a dangerous place for pastors. It is full of sinners — saved by grace. With God-given courage you will be able to face the dangers with confidence.
When you are wounded by the attacks or are in pain and need healing, remember that QuietWaters Ministries is here for you.