Stew on This: 3 Thoughts of Encouragement for Pastor Weariness
Surface in your mind any present situation of hardship, affliction, or difficulty in your life. This may not take much for some of you. My purpose is not to sadden or discourage you by dwelling on what is difficult in your life, but rather to help you apply some biblical thoughts to that situation. Inspect the tough time you are experiencing through the lens of Hebrews chapter 12.
3 Hebrews Tips (Encouragement for Pastor Weariness)
- Be strong –
Hebrews 12:12 says to strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. The image is of an exhausted runner. When you get tired while running, one of the first things that happens is your arms drop. They hang down at your sides instead of pumping to maintain rhythm and pull you along. Your knees become weak and you get wobbly. This physical picture helps depict emotional and spiritual exhaustion. When you find yourself in this exhausted state, you need (like a runner) to pump those arms and stretch that stride. With intense effort run toward the finish line. This is a call to adopt the inner attitude and inner determination to “do it.” You are to keep running.
- Choose the right path –
“And make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed,” (Hebrews 12:13, ESV).
Level paths or smooth paths refer to the ways of God. Choose to do life according to God’s instructions. Our self-made ways and sinful actions are rocky, uneven, dangerous paths. This is true for ministry leaders too. It is easy to believe you’re doing God’s work but truly be distracted by your own desires. If you don’t stay carefully in tune with His way, it will end in being lame. The result is more hurt and more pain, instead of healing.
In your spiritual exhaustion, when you feel like it’s just not worth it to carry on – the action to take is to set your feet on God’s path. Find His way in the Scriptures and follow it. You will come to a healing of your soul instead of a disablement.
- Pursue relational peace and personal holiness –
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord,” (Hebrews 12:14, ESV).
This is the Great Commandment in reverse. Make peace and love your neighbor as yourself. Strive for purity. Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
Being a pastor, these truths are ingrained for you. However, there can be quite a broad application of these instructions. Let’s confine it to the community of faith among which some are facing such hardship that they are weary of running.
Relational friction can develop. There is often a self-orientation and that is destructive of peace. So, relational peace must be pursued consciously. We must go after it with persistence because it’s easy to let relationships deteriorate when we are facing great difficulty.
Holiness or purity must also be pursued. It’s not peace at any cost. It’s peace that is glued together by truth and purity of life. Your personal walk with God, your saying no to sin that tempts you, and living in the moral character of Christ enables you to live in peace. When your walk with God goes south, your relationships are adversely affected.
When you are spiritually weak and weary from the hardships you face, that is when you need to make every effort to go after peace and holiness with all that you have. This whole process of counteracting weariness and being able to endure is not a solo, independent effort. It is a community effort. It takes the community of faith to help the weary endure. So, reach out to other pastors and make sure you’re leaning on your community.
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