Occasionally, a younger preacher will ask me if preaching and working with local churches gets any easier as you grow older. My first thought is, I can assume that because you ask me that question, you must think I’m really old. The truth is, there are aspects of our work that become easier, and there are aspects that do not.
The preparation of sermons seems to be a little easier (perhaps from years of study). The preaching of the message appears to be a little easier (again, possibly because of experience). Getting to know people seems to be a little easier (perhaps because we grow more comfortable around some people as we grow older).
Let me tell you about the part that doesn’t get easier. It never gets easier to preach your heart out to people and wonder if they are getting it. It never becomes less heartbreaking to see people leave a church family, whether they are going because they disagree with the teaching, because they feel that they have been pushed out, because they want something different, or because they feel unloved (when the latter of these is true, shame on us)! Regardless of our age, if we love the Church, and if we believe the Church should be like a family, it breaks our hearts when people leave.
It never gets easier to feel the pain of someone who is struggling with an illness or someone who has lost a loved one, or someone who is struggling with sin. It never gets easier to see young preachers being mistreated by their church family.
After reading this, someone might ask, “Is it worth it?” After more than 40 years of being involved in full-time ministry, my answer is, “YES.” A million times, yes. Being able to preach the Word of God and minister to the hearts, souls, and lives of Church folk is the greatest blessing in the world. Being a preacher has blessed my life far more than anything I could have ever imagined. As one preacher said, “If I had a thousand lives to live, I would want to live them all as a preacher. May God help those of us who are a part of His Church to live in a way that encourages everyone around us and brings glory to our Lord!
via Facebook post by Jeff Jenkins, 11/18/19
Brother Jenkins wrote this in a Facebook post on November 18, 2019. I heartily concur with his assessment. Preaching is hard sometimes, especially when a preacher has been at one congregation as long as I have. I am always heartbroken over those who leave. I am always struggling to know if the lessons I am presenting are what the church needs. I am always wondering if I handled things differently or preached differently if it would make a bigger difference in the church here. Yet . . .
I do know that God’s word will not return unto him void. (Isaiah 55:8-9).
I rejoice that the preaching of the gospel does not rely upon my frailties and weaknesses.
I know that God is in control, and if HIS church lives right and does right, it will prosper in the way he intends for it to. God has not given up on us. He still loves us and believes and knows we can do and be better than what we are doing.
My prayer is that we strive to live up to what he knows we are capable of and do what we can to spread the gospel to the world. My prayer is that the world may see Jesus shining in us.
My hope would be for our friends and relatives to know how much we love Him and them and want what we have.
In His Service,