A good way to think about contentment is Christ-sufficiency, not self-sufficiency.
Pastors and politicians have more in common than either will admit in polite company, but there is one thing both readily agree on—to serve in government or pastor a church requires a thick skin. The difference, however, is the pastor must also have a soft heart for the Word of God and for the needs of the congregation. And because pastors work with the spiritual needs of people, they are bound to come under criticism. Toughening up without becoming callous is a tricky balance to find and maintain.
Pastoral work is not for the faint of heart. Insight for Living understands this and is grateful to those who answer the high calling of the pastorate. By providing pastoral resources, we're committed to encouraging pastors in their pursuit of developing a tough hide and a soft heart.
Beginning in 1 Timothy 4:6 and continuing through the rest of the letter, Paul turns our attention to the one who seeks to be “a good servant of Christ Jesus,” namely, the minister. Paul starts off by outlining a list of dos and don’ts for effective ministry, focusing first on the pastor’s personal ministry and then on the pastor’s public ministry.
The terms wise and wisdom appear more than 30 times in the last six chapters of Ecclesiastes, and the concept is interwoven through most of the paragraphs…sometimes in a subtle manner, other times boldly. We’ll see these benefits personified in the life of “the wise man,” portrayed by Solomon in Ecclesiastes 8:1–9.
People ask this question because there is no reference to God or the Law in Song of Solomon and it seems explicit in celebrating sexual love. Through the centuries it has been one of the most controversial books in the Bible.
Over the decades, the people have not changed but the ministry has. There has been an undeniable pressure to adjust the model of church.
Priorities govern the words of spiritual nourishment that come from the pulpit. It’s easy to see a church’s priorities when the ministry is just starting out, when the ink of the congregation’s ideals is still wet on the paper. But later on, when storms roll in, the priority list can get blown away in a gust of confusion.
God cares about good leadership—the kind mentioned in Scripture, modelled by men and women who served their generations with integrity and refused to lag behind because of pressure, demands, or ingratitude. Strong and determined yet gracious and godly are the qualities we witness in those we will study in this lesson.
I couldn't have completed Day 3's gruelling 161 km without Jim. While the ride started out as a personal marathon, Jim's encouragement taught me the most important lesson I've encountered about teamwork.
Be honest: when was the last time you said something or gave something or wrote something or did something with the single motive of encouraging someone else?