Encourage Him

Believe it or not, pastors and those who are in “full-time,” vocational ministry sometimes go through discouraging times and need to be encouraged by others. We who preach to others need to hear preaching; and we who exhort others need to be exhorted!

A Church in Mississippi wanted to encourage its pastor by placing a special article in the church newsletter. The author of the paragraph titled it “Boost the Pastor a Bit.” The article was sent to a print shop, and a typesetter went to work on it (in an era BC, before computers). When it appeared in the weekly church paper, however, the headline read, “Boot the Pastor a Bit.” Not the kind of encouragement needed!

Sometimes we journey through valleys and deep waters before coming to the mountain tops and pleasant plains. I have never often been harassed by discouragement, but there was a time when I did come to a place where the shadows had lengthened and the winds were chilly and the terrain over which I was passing was pretty rough. I was not in the throes of discouragement, but I was at least battle fatigued.

At that very time, I received an email from a pastor in another part of the world. I have never met him; I do not know how he received my email address, but for quite some time he regularly would send me brief messages, usually a scripture verse with a brief word of encouragement.

When I was at a pretty low point, here’s a message I received: “I was praying for my friend and feel God will keep on blessing you. God has designed good things for you. Nothing good shall be withheld from you. But I feel you need to read the below verses. Read them carefully and I am sure these are the days that people are turning from sound doctrine. But please verse four which says you are to be watchful in all things. Endure afflictions. When you get afflictions, do not be discouraged but have endurance. Afflictions of any kind please endure. Keep on doing what God called you to do in His ministry always. Ask God to help you fulfill the purpose of your calling. As you read these verse we pray that God continues to keep you in His grace and love.” 2 Tim.4:3-5: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

When I began reading that I was skeptical, anticipating some wild prophecy to come forth with a prosperity pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, depending upon my forwarding the proper account numbers for its deposit. Or, I was waiting for a desperate plea for help, but neither of them ever came. The fact is that on a particularly difficult day it would be hard not to believe that God laid that message of encouragement on the heart of a pastor half-way around the world, someone to my knowledge I had never met, to send to a downcast preacher. (By the way, this incident happened years ago and I still do not know that I have ever met this encourager).

Ten days after I received the above exhortation, I received a follow-up. It read, in part: “You say, ‘it’s impossible.’ God says, ‘All things are possible.’ You say, ‘I’m too tired.’ God says, ‘I will give you rest.’ You say, ‘Nobody really loves me.’ God says, ‘I love you.’ You say, ‘I can’t go on.’ God says, ‘My grace is sufficient.’ You say, ‘I can’t figure things out.’ God says, ‘I will direct your paths.’ You say ‘I can’t do it.’ God says, ‘You can do all things.’ You say, ‘I’m not able.’ God says, ‘l am able.’ You say, ‘It’s not worth it.’ God says, ‘It will be worth it.’ You say, ‘I can’t forgive myself.’ God says, ‘I FORGIVE YOU.’ You say, ‘I can’t manage.’ God says, ‘I will supply all your needs.’ You say, ‘I’m afraid.’ God says, ‘I have not given you the spirit of fear.’ You say, ‘I don’t have enough faith.’ God says, ‘I’ve given everyone a measure of faith.’ You say, ‘I’m not smart enough.’ God says, ‘I give you wisdom.’ You say, ‘I feel all alone.’ God says, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’

And, with every one of those admonitions, my foreign friend gave a list of appropriate scripture verses to look up and read. I simply wrote “Thank You” one time, but we never carried on any further correspondence. He never asked for anything. As I mentioned, that has been probably twelve to fifteen years ago, but the fact that I am writing about it today suggests to me that just maybe God has a special message for some one of His servants who may be reading and needing these very words of encouragement today. You may not even be aware of the depth of your need. I pray God will bless you with the encouraging words of a pastor who may speak another tongue but who honors the same Word of God and serves the same Savior as do we here in America.

But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it.” (Deut.1:38)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: