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Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Those who truly serve God are made to feel more and more forcibly that ‘life is real, life is earnest’, if it indeed be life in Christ. In times of great pain, and weakness, and depression, it has come over me to hope that, if I should again recover, I should be more intense than ever; if I could be privileged to climb the pulpit stairs again, I resolved to leave out every bit of flourish from my sermons, to preach nothing but present and pressing truth, and to hurl it at the people with all my might; myself living at high pressure, and putting forth all the energy of which my being is capable. I suppose you, too, have felt like this when you have been laid aside. You have said to yourself, ‘Playtime is over with us, we must get to work. Parade is ended, now comes the tug of war. We must not waste a single moment, but redeem the time, because the days are evil. When we see the wonderful activity of the servants of Satan, and how much they accomplish, we may well be ashamed of ourselves that we do so little for our Redeemer, and that the little is often done so badly that it takes as long to set it right as we spent in the doing of it. Brethren, let us cease from regrets, and come to actual amendment.'” [An All Around Ministry, 162]
Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Evaluation of ministry is good and necessary, but moving forward from the lessons learned by the grace of God is better. God’s mercies are new every morning and even if have wasted time in the past, God is sovereign in using our rags for His glory. But let us not waste a single moment in our service for Christ because “playtime is over”. Let us put our full effort into being faithful to God and to His word in every aspect of our lives, laboring with all our might for His glory and at the end of each day as the chips fall where they may, rest in the glorious truth that “Our God is in the heavens, He does all that He pleases” (Psalm 115.3), including using mere men for the glory of His name however He should choose.
9Marks has an excellent post today titled “The Scariest Word in Pastoral Ministry” by Mike McKinley. The word is “bifurcation”, which means a split growing over time. Mike says, “They [pastors] began to say and teach and proclaim one thing to the world, while doing and loving a very different thing in their private life. Their work as a pastor began to become disconnected from their personal lives. It became more like a job to be done; it just happened to be a job where you had to talk about God.”
He gives 5 questions to ask yourself to evaluate if a “bifurcation” is beginning in your life:
1. Do you study God’s word and theology with a heart devoid of worship?
2. Are you well known by anyone else?
3. Do you assume that if other people approve of you, God approves of you?
4. Do you find yourself condeming sin publicly, even as you indulge it privately?
5. Do you do the work of the ministry without passion for Christ’s glory?
Read it and spend some time in prayer with your Bible open evaluating your heart.