Don’t Give Up
by Pastor John Fredericksen
Being in the pastorate can be discouraging. After all, you are an obvious target for criticism. The messages are always too long or too short, you use too many illustrations
or not enough, the content is too deep or too shallow, you stand too strongly on biblical truth or not strongly enough, and so it goes. On one occasion, I had a Christian leader harshly dress me down in public for 45 minutes and accused me of a variety of things I simply had not done. He only thought I had done them. I left that meeting so discouraged; I just wanted to give up the ministry, and maybe even give up walking with the Lord. Thankfully, He sent me encouragement when I needed it most.
Being discouraged spiritually isn’t exclusive to pastors either. All believers encounter this at one time or another. You can almost feel the sorrow of heart when you read the testimonies of God’s men of the past. David wrote: “I had fainted…” (Psa. 27:13), Jeremiah said: “When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me” (Jer. 8:18), and Jonah said: “…my soul fainted within me” (Jonah 2:7). They were so discouraged and spiritually weakened that they simply felt like giving up. Thankfully, these servants of God did not give up, and there is much to learn from what carried them through.
Jonah relates to us how he found the strength to carry on: “I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto Thee, into Thine holy temple” (Jonah 2:7). Coupled with obedience to God’s will, his discouragement turned when he stayed his mind on the Lord in prayer. Similarly, Isaiah proclaims: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength…they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). As you can see, Isaiah also found it helpful to focus his thoughts on the Lord through prayer.
The Apostle Paul had opposition from without and from within the company of believers, and had much to be discouraged about, but he didn’t quit. His testimony was: “seeing we have this ministry…we faint not” (II Cor. 4:1). He kept his heart focused on serving the Savior, with Galatians 6:9 in mind: “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Simply put, heaven and reward from the Savior strengthened the resolve of this servant. It can for us too.
Are you discouraged spiritually? Don’t quit! Pray, focus on the importance of serving Christ, and rejoice in future reward!