The Minister’s Comfort (2 Cor 7:5-7)

For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus; And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more.” (2 Corinthians 7:5–7, KJV)

When I was considering the call to the ministry, the pastor of the Korean Baptist Church told me, “Steve, the work of the pastor is very hard.” At the time, I did not believe him. After all, I had been in the military in charge of a platoon of men. We were a thousand miles from home. There were stressful times. There were times when we were in the field that we maneuvered for three days straight without sleep. When I left the service, I ran a manufacturing facility where there was a lot of pressure to meet manufacturing deadlines. I would get calls from the plant at all hours of the night. When I worked in field engineering, I would get calls to travel to a facility at a moment’s notice. What could be more difficult.

Then I answered the Lord’s call to the pastorate and had a wakeup call. I discovered that the pastorate was indeed very difficult. There was the burden of ministry every day. Every parishioner became a family member where their hurts became yours. Dealing with tragedy and struggles in a person’s life would take its toll on the pastor. I remember getting phone calls to go to the hospital as someone was on their deathbed or receiving a phone call at 3:00 AM by someone  threatening to take his own life. In the pastorate, you are never able to get away from the responsibility. Moreover, there is the constant spiritual warfare that the pastor fights for his congregation. Then there are the disgruntled and rebellious parishioners who pop up from time to time, sending emails, which I called nasty-grams.

Few pastors will vocalize their struggles in the ministry. They fight discouragement, anxiety, weariness, sorrow, deep hurts, along with a deep desire to see their flock grow in the Lord. Those called to such a task need comfort and encouragement.

Paul in this letter, was not shy to share his struggles. Here he wrote of a time in Macedonia when he stated that “our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.” Amid these struggles, Paul described the comfort that God sent to him. It came by the way of Titus and the word that Titus brought regarding the church at Corinth. Paul was comforted in hearing that the church had come alongside Titus, welcoming him. He was comforted as he heard of the church’s desire for Paul and fervor of spirit for him. Moreover, he was comforted to hear of their mourning, the godly sorrow that produces repentance.

Pastors often long for comfort. The Lord uses people as agents of comfort. These are parishioners and partners in ministry. What is the greatest encouragement? What brings the greatest comfort? It is to see people turn from false teachings and to grow in the Lord. It is to see people who hunger and thirst for righteousness. It is to see people turn from the ways of the flesh and turn their hearts towards God. It is to receive the love of the congregation.

Consider these things. Extend love to those who pastor the flock. Theirs is a tough job and they need your loving comfort and encouragement.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

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