by PAUL SANTHOUSE
A. W. Tozer sets pastors apart from other men. Laymen have their role, but pastors are charged with alarming, arousing, challenging, and bringing life.* Pastors bring “God’s present voice to a particular people.”
These are significant duties, yet the pastor’s work doesn’t stop there. He must remain “under the constant sway of the Holy Spirit,” he must stay alert to “moral and spiritual conditions” in the church, and in his teaching he must “intrude into the daily and private living” of the congregation. “Without being personal, the true pastor will yet pierce the conscience of each listener as if the message had been directed to him alone.” And then there’s this: “To preach the truth it is often necessary that the pastor know the people’s hearts better than they themselves do… He must surprise his hearers with his unsuspected knowledge of their secret thoughts.”
Such expectations are a tall order. They could easily lead to despair were it not for Tozer’s final comments: The work of a pastor is “altogether too difficult for any man. He is driven to God for wisdom. He must seek the mind of Christ and throw himself on the Holy Spirit for spiritual power and mental acumen equal to the task.”
That’s the key and the challenge. As Charles Whiston wrote in Teach Us to Pray, “The life of a minister is not one in which it is easy to be a man of prayer. The pattern of church life often makes it well-nigh impossible for the minister to dwell in or even enter upon praying.” Here the road forks. Either I learn to wrestle with God in prayer, or I wrestle through managing without. All believers face this tension—I do every day—yet the intensity of pastoral work brings it to a keener pitch.
If you are in need of more prayer than your schedule seems to allow, shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and our ministry team will pray for you by name. You don’t even have to write anything; just ask us to pray and we will.
God’s blessing on the crucial work you do.
Bishop, Redemption Ministries
*These remarks are all taken from Tozer’s Of God and Men, pages 21-22. In his writing, Tozer uses the words minister, prophet, and man of God interchangeably. I have substituted pastor for consistency’s sake.
by PAUL SANTHOUSE
Moody Publishers, email@example.com