Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Pastoral Love

The fundamental principle of our ministry is that we must love our people.  That's more important than anything else.  Without love our ministry will be empty.  In the gospel there is no such reality as truth without love.  And so it is very important for those of us who have a real passion for preaching to understand that what is going to oil the wheels of our preaching is that the people to whom we preach know we actually love them...
John Newton once wrote: "My [congregation] know that I love them and have loved them over the years and now I believe they would take absolutely anything from me."  One of the mistakes you can make when you're a young minister is to read what someone else does or says and assume that because you're also a gospel minister that you can do it or say it.  And you've not noticed the bond of love in which these things have been said.
Jesus loved His disciples.  He says to them - a 3-year embryonic church - "I have many things still to teach you, but you are not able to bear them."  And there's a real lesson in how love functions in ministry. It understand the dimness of people - the slowness of people - and is prepared to be patient with people.
Preparing sermons can be very painful, but love is going to be much more painful.

-Sinclair Ferguson, Lessons from a Lifetime of Pastoring

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