However lovely or rugged the path before us, we cannot speak with incarnate truth of its splendor or severity without walking it. Thus, it is with the Gospel ministry.
In reading through a young man’s research paper, I was struck by his ability to integrate his humanity, faith, and life with Christ, with theological concepts arising from Biblical truths. As usual, my students teach me much about faith and life and, frequently, about myself and my need for Christ.
I wrote the following to the young man in his evaluation. I believe that it could be of encouragement to those in ministry today. There may be one of you reading this now who is overwhelmed with the ministry. Remember how Christ ministered to you. Then, shepherd others out of the healing you received from the hand of the Great Shepherd. For so St. Paul wrote,
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.2 Corinthians 2:3-7 New King James Version of the Holy Bible.
I wrote these words for another, but they were for me. They may be for you.
So this is the first rule in pastoral ministry, and for the Christian life:
The way up is down. The way forward is in stillness. The most excellent sermons preached are, first, lived.M.A. Milton, 2021