HOW many times have you heard the expression, "I like our pastor, but . . . ?" I wonder how many ministries have been hindered by this expression. "I like our pastor,But he lacks tact in dealing with people." "I like our pastor, But he does not have a glowing personality." "I like our pastor, But he does not visit enough." "I like our pastor, But his speaking voice is sort of monotonous." On and on we could go; the list is endless. The "buts" are numerous and varied when speaking of pastors and their work. When was the last time you made such a remark concerning your pastor?
As true as the statement may be, nevertheless it should not be said. No good can come from such remarks. Remember, even though he is in the ministry, your pastor is a human being and subject to all of the temptations and shortcomings to which you are—possibly even more.
"Yes," you say, "but his shortcomings are hindering the work in our church; souls are no longer being saved, Christians are leaving and going elsewhere to church." This might very well be true, but your pastor needs something more than your discussion of his faults with others.
The need of every minister of Christ, whether missionary, evangelist, teacher, or pastor, is deeper than the mere shortcomings which are obvious on the exterior. All have a deep need of the heart which, when met, will cause his few faults to fade into insignificance. This need is the fullness of the Holy Spirit in his life and ministry.
After a service one night, Dwight L. Moody was approached by two women who had been in attendance. He was shocked, and somewhat irritated, when the women told him they were going to pray that he might be filled with the Holy Spirit. At the time he was attracting fairly large crowds, with a few souls being saved. Before long, however, Mr. Moody, too, realized the need of the fullness of God, the Holy Spirit, in his ministry. He began to pray with these women for this fullness. Two years later—according to his testimony—Moody, while walking down a street in New York City, received the answer to this prayer. From that time forward the ministry of this man of God was phenomenal. He preached the same sermons, in the same way, at the same places, but great things began to happen. Thousands were brought under conviction of sin and saved. Other thousands were strengthened in the faith and emboldened in witnessing.
If you would help your pastor and your church, begin earnestly to pray for the fullness and the power of God's Spirit in them. Much more will be accomplished by such a prayer than all the talking you and your fellow church members can do. Believe that God wants to bless the work and pray accordingly. The Bible declares that "God . . . is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Heb. 11:6).
I am fully aware that all Christians do not agree regarding the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the child of God, but one thing upon which I think we do agree is that we need the Holy Spirit with all His power to operate in and through us if we are to bear eternal fruit. This your pastor needs. Likewise, your church, and each working member of your church. Yes, You also need this experience.
Rather than discuss among yourselves the faults of your pastor, begin today to petition God that the Holy Spirit might come in power into your midst. The command from the Bible is, "Be not drunk with wine . . . ; but be filled with the Spirit" (Eph. 5:18). And the promise follows. "... Your heavenly Father [shall] give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him" (Luke 11:13).
Used by permission of the American Tract Society, 513 West 166th Street, New York 32, N.Y., from whom this article is obtainable in tract form.