When you are passionate about something, everything becomes a potential lesson. Today I watched high end, dark roasted coffee beans being poured into a grinder. The beans were useless unless they were ground to a fine powder-like consistency. Only in this way, would the combination of steam and boiling water and compression produce the pure essence of the coffee beans which could be tasted and enjoyed with uttermost pleasure.
The pastor is very much like the high end bean. I know some who don’t really need to be reminded of that. Those are actually lower grade beans but don’t know it. These gifted believers are no good to the consumer of God’s Word (and I do not use “consumer” in the negative sense of the narcissistic, church-shopper, but as Milton’s hungry sheep looking up with mouths open, hungry to be fed) until the Lord grounds them to a fine powder. Moreover they must be steamed, boiled, and compressed from all sides so that they cry,
“O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12).
Then, and only then, when he is crushed beneath the reality of his own inability, the foolishness of the Gospel, and the incomprehensible love and power of God’s grace, is he fit to be used of God. Only then may the Gospel of God which he has known in his own encounter with the living Christ become the essence of heaven that can be poured into the outstretched cup of the thirsty saint.
The pastor’s vocation, when distilled to its essence, is never greater than his sanctification.