I get discouraged easily. Far too easily for someone who believes in and preaches about the hope that we have in Christ. And so when I get discouraged, I can also get somewhat sorrowful, because I think that I shouldn’t be so discouraged. As a pastor, I think that I should always be encouraged, and encouraging to others, as I find my hope in God.
But then sometimes I get discouraged precisely because I am a pastor.
One of the primary tasks of the pastor is to equip the saints for works of ministry. The goal of the pastor is not merely to get more people to listen to his sermons, but to see each person transformed into a servant of God. Into someone who gives his life to minister to people.
So it can be extremely discouraging when this doesn’t happen.
Or, I should say, when this doesn’t happen in the way that I want it to.
But this just goes to point out the obvious: my discouragement often has nothing to do with the saints, and everything to do with my pride. It comes from desiring to see results that prove that I’m doing a good job. But perhaps God just wants me to be faithful, and to leave the results up to Him.
Or maybe God is even more concerned with how I rest rather than how I work. In other words, maybe my faithfulness shouldn’t even be the focus. Maybe resting in Christ’s faithfulness should be the focus. Because if I focus on my faithfulness, I’ll still end up being discouraged, because I can’t always be faithful. But Jesus was and is always completely faithful to the Father, and to His Word, and even to us, whom He loves.
John Piper puts it this way: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
So the answer to life’s discouragement isn’t seeing the results you want, or doing a perfect job, or trying harder, but resting in Jesus Christ.
That, after all, is the gospel.