When you get up
early on a cold, winter morning and go look at the
fireplace, it seems that the fire is out. The ashes are
gray and cold. But if you take a stick and dig around in
those ashes, you will discover red-hot coals. With
proper care, you can rekindle the fire that seemed to be
This is the word picture Paul painted for
Timothy when he said, "Kindle afresh the gift of God
which is in you" (2 Tim. 1:6, NASB). Paul pictured
Timothy's pastoral gift as a fire that once blazed
brightly but had almost gone out. Underneath the dull,
gray ashes were still hot coals, capable of bursting
into flames again, if they were stirred.
today face the same challenge. There are three things
every pastor can do to overcome discouragement and
rekindle his enthusiasm.
Remember the Lay
of the Harvest
Paul said, "Let us not be
weary in well doing for in due season we shall reap, if
we faint not" (Gal. 6:9). The law of the harvest says if
you keep planting good seed in good soil in God's time
there will be fruit.
Not all fields are equally
productive. You may be serving in a difficult place. The
people around you may be hardened and callused. We are
to work hard no matter where we are, no matter how great
or little the harvest may be. Our task is to be faithful
to God, to plant good seed in the soil around us, and to
let God handle the amount and quality of the harvest.
Use the Right Standard to Evaluate Your Work
How do you measure success in the kingdom of God? If you
attend a convention and a friend asks how your church is
doing, would your answer be numerical and include
The healthy church is reaching people
for Christ and teaching them the Bible. However, in some
churches great numerical increase is unlikely. All
church fields are not equally productive. Do not measure
success by comparing yourself to other pastors and
churches. To do so only creates a sense of pride if you
do better than they or jealousy, envy, and despair if
you do worse.
Success in the kingdom of God is
measured by faithfulness. Don't compare yourself to
Trust in God
still on the throne. The work you do as a pastor is
kingdom work-God's kingdom. Depend on God for the
strength to overcome discouragement. In 1 John 5:4, John
said, "This is the victory that overcomes the world,
even our faith."
Discouragement is a powerful tool
for Satan. He uses it to immobilize God's pastors. But
God is still God, and we are still His servants. Depend
on Him for strength and encouragement. You are an
(Adapted from Paul Powell,
Shepherding the Sheep in Smaller Churches).