I don’t really know how to be a good pastor. Or how to be a leader. Or a servant.
I wish I did, but I don’t. When I talk to or see the ministries of other pastors, they seem to know what they’re doing. They’re clear about the vision that God gave them for their church, and even though they often say the journey has been hard, they always make it look so easy. Because even throughout the difficult periods of ministry, they had clarity about their purpose, which drove them toward being steadfast in faith and practice.
But when I even begin to think I have even the slightest clue about what I’m doing, something happens that reminds me that I really have no idea what I’m doing. Ministry is a mystery to me.
Actually, all of life is kind of a mystery to me.
Wishing that I knew what I was doing, sometimes I foolishly spurt out some ideas and goals that I wish I were able to implement with some kind of wisdom and passion, but I know inside that I’m not able to do it. I fail, over and over and over again.
But maybe it’s supposed to be this way. Maybe constantly realizing that I’m not able to do this keeps me crying out to the only One who is able to fulfill His purpose in me. And maybe it reminds me over and over again that the church isn’t about me, but about Jesus, and Jesus is the One who builds His church.
And maybe that’s true not just in ministry, but in all of life. Our sin and failure highlights God’s goodness that much more, because God shows His goodness even toward us who have failed over and over and over again.
For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:32-36)
Therefore, our joy and hope should not be in ourselves, our abilities, or our futures, but in God, who is the hero of the story.
So even though it’s often hard to fight discouragement in life and ministry, I know that God does have a purpose for me, and it doesn’t depend at all on my competence or wisdom. It depends on God. Because it’s His work, His will, His wisdom, and we simply get to be a part of it.