Pastors, Stay Focused on God While You Feel Unaccomplished

A man is praying with his hands on an open Bible.
A man is praying with his hands on an open Bible. (photo:
By Esther TianDecember 21st, 2023

A hidden arrow, such as a sense of accomplishment, frequently hurts some pastors. While some ministers aren't afraid of enemies' criticism and persecution, they might still feel discouraged or doubt the significance of their ministry due to a lack of a sense of achievement.

T, a pastor serving in China’s central plains area, pointed out, "Looking externally, a sense of accomplishment is mostly not beneficial for pastors, as pastors shouldn't evaluate their ministries based on this feeling."

He acknowledged that feelings of loss could even affect his own enthusiasm for service. He said, "Indeed, when I focus on studying God's word and immerse myself in it, my inner self is peaceful, clean, and satisfied. I feel great when preparing a sermon and sense the guidance of the Holy Spirit while preaching. Believers' life growth also brings a sense of accomplishment."

"But at other times, I get disturbed. For example, after long hours of reading without much insight, I feel like I've wasted time and energy. Despite investing effort in varied church matters and caring for believers' basic needs, I doubt the meaningfulness of my actions when it seems hard to witness their growth. I also face struggles and conflicts in relationships, especially when a way out isn't visible for an extended period, resulting in doubts about the environment," T shared.

T believed these thoughts were normal for pastors but emphasized that what they saw was superficial. He compared it to corporate work, where efforts usually yield income, unlike in pastoral or ministerial roles, where a sense of accomplishment in completing major projects is rare and the salary is low. "Pastors often deal with the relationship between people and God, a problem not instantly solvable. Inner change and growth are not instantly discernible," he added.

He also illustrated the example of the prophet Jeremiah, who had a low sense of accomplishment. Jeremiah persistently attempted to persuade the Israelites to accept God's message, but they rejected him. Despite being the "weeping prophet" and persistently urging repentance, he found the people remained unrepentant and even despised and imprisoned him. Yet, he faithfully preached the Lord's words and interceded with a heart full of sorrow and repentance for the people.

Finally, T emphasized, "What pastors can do is to be faithful to the Lord and focus on loving Him. Through their faithfulness, God accomplishes His own will."

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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