A Blessing for the Minister
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” (Romans 1:8, KJV 1900)
When I look back at my time in pastoring the church, I must say two things. First, I give thanks for the people whom the Lord has called to assemble as the church. These are God’s chosen people. They are people for whom Jesus gave His life. And, for this reason alone, we who minister should always give thanks. Yes, as a pastor once told me, “The ministry is gloriously difficult.” The reality of it is that there are people in the church that will sometimes make things difficult. Yet, as a shepherd of the flock, I am grateful for each one.
My second thought is more directly tied to the specific reason that Paul gave thanks for the believers in Rome. Here, he gives thanks for them because of their testimony of faith, which has gone into the known world. As a minister of the gospel, I cannot think of a greater blessing than to hear that there is a legacy of faithful believers advancing the gospel. Especially when that advancement is through those whom we have, by God’s grace, had some influential contact. This word encouraged Paul and this type of report will encourage every minister. While I pastored Seacoast Community Church, The Lord richly blessed me in many ways, even financially. We did see some come to faith and be baptized. Yet the thing that would bless me the most right now after leaving the congregation, would be to hear a report that the church is doing well and that its legacy of faith is being known far and wide.
Parishioners, speaking for myself, I can say now that rather than raises from the church, pastors would be blessed the most to see a spiritually healthy congregation, faithfully pursuing the Lord and His work, loving one another and spreading the message of hope in Christ to the ends of the earth.