Pastoring a church is a great privilege given to me by God. One of my goals is to pastor and lead with a healthy soul. Many do not and the consequences in the church of America is significant, which results in significant consequences in our country as well.
“1,500 pastors leave the ministry permanently each month in America. 80% of pastors and 85% of their spouses feel discouraged in their roles. 70% of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor. Over 50% of pastors are so discouraged they would leave the ministry if they could but have no other way of making a living. Over 50% of pastors’ wives feel that their husband entering ministry was the most destructive thing to ever happen to their families. 30% of pastors said they had either been in an ongoing affair or had a one-time sexual encounter with a parishioner. 71% of pastors stated they were burned out, and they battle depression beyond fatigue on a weekly and even a daily basis. Only one out of every ten ministers will actually retire as a minister.” (Information from The Barna Group).
I want to get to the finish line still in love with Jesus, still in love with the church, still in love with being a pastor. With my head held high, with my dignity and honor still intact, I want to look back over my shoulder and say it was worth it. A healthy soul is not easy to achieve and it is even harder to maintain over the long haul.
The foundation of a healthy soul is right and pure motive. Why do we do what we do, what drives us, what gives us our fire and passion. Our motive is tricky, it slips sideways so easily and imperceptibly from the influence of the world, the pull of our flesh, and the temptation of the devil. It takes constant self-monitoring, but only those who are humble enough to receive input, instruction, and criticism from others close to them who see little warning signs of drift into the dark side will be able to maintain purity of motive that God will bless.
For me pure motive is doing everything I do to please the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:9 Therefore we also have as our ambition (motive), whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
It is so easy to slip a bit and begin to please people. We serve people, teach people, pray for people, counsel people and if we do a good job they will appreciate us and verbalize that appreciation, and it is so addicting.
It is so easy to be motivated by the pride of accomplishment, a sense of worth that come from influencing people towards faith in God. It seems strange that such a noble accomplishment could be driven by pride.
There are many other “false gods” lurking to seduce us away from the purity of devotion to Christ and the super strong desire to please Him in all that we do, such as power, money, and even comfort.
The strongest check in my spirit to scrutinize my motive is feelings of discouragement, hurt feelings, self-pity, feeling unappreciated, and finding myself getting irritated at people.
Dear Lord, my desire, my motive, my ambition is to please You with my life, work, and accomplishment. Test my heart, O Lord, and see if there is any wrong motive in me, show me what I need to change.