I'm prone to hit patches of melancholy in my life. It's incredibly frustrating. While I have no doubt that fatigue plays some part in it, I don’t think it is as simple as an excuse of a needed day off or a nap. There is an unquestionable spiritual aspect to the doldrums I have waded through. I get most frustrated by the reality that I can see objectively the issues that I have not been able to solve emotionally. It’s my hope that my journey may at least be helpful to you. At the core, we need to regain and rekindle what I am going to call a “gospel swagger.”
Now, this is not to say that we need to be prideful in ourselves. Nor is it to say that we need to leverage our pride over others, for that is the core of arrogance. What we need is not hope in ourselves or in our methods. We need indefatigable hope in Jesus that frees us to have confidence and boldness in every situation and decision. For pastors and elders, that means:
- Hope not in the way we preach, but in the One we preach.
- Hope not in our methods to cause growth, but in Jesus to build His Church through us, even using our methods.
- Hope not in our ability to solve people’s problems, but in Jesus who can bring healing and wholeness.
- Hope not in our stewardship and projections of finance, but in Jesus who graciously has given abundantly more than we could ever ask.
- Hope not in our energy to shepherd, but in Jesus the ultimate Good Shepherd.
- Hope not in our varied pursuits to bring happiness and rest, but in the One who is joy and rest for our souls.
- Hope not in our ability for argumentation, but in Jesus who saves lost souls.
If our hope and confidence are in Jesus we will be able to release the weight of eldership and shepherding in His Church with the full confidence that it is, indeed, His Church.
If our hope and confidence are in Jesus we will be able to release the inevitable conflict that comes with leading people and rest as we follow His voice and calling.
If our hope and confidence are in Jesus we will be able to release the pressure of expectations and rest in His sovereignty.
When we see our own weakness, may we join Paul in gospel swagger:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.