“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”
Church leaders especially need to constantly be taking stock of their work. Why did you enter the ministry back then? What motivated you to work for the Lord?
It was the love of Christ that constrained you. Why are you doing the work now? It needs to be done, no one else will do it, or it’s expected of you. If that sounds like you, than you’re letting your relationship with the Lord grow cold. You’ve lost your first love.
That’s why the Lord is seen as the one who walks among the churches. He’s the one inspecting the work. He’s checking not only what’s done, but also why it’s being done.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
Timothy was a young pastor. Paul was his father in the ministry. Even though this was written almost two thousand years ago, it should serve as a warning to all of us in the ministry today.
There’s an inspection process constantly going on in the church. The Chief Shepherd inspects the work of the under-shepherds.
This verse says that we should be approved. That Greek word literally means inspected and stamped with a seal of approval. It doesn’t matter what man thinks of you. Are you approved by God?
This calls for self-evaluation. Paul said that if we would judge ourselves we would not come under judgment. When you take a long hard look at your spiritual life, what do you see? Has it grown in depth since you started out in the ministry?
Has the fire started to wane, and you find yourself more and more “running on empty”? If this is the case, it’s an indication that you’ve lost your first love. Don’t let pride – the unwillingness to admit your situation – keep you from God’s renewal process.
Even pastors are not exempt from this. That’s the reason for the rash of “clergy burnout” that’s seen across America in this generation. One study showed that 80% of all seminary graduates had left the ministry after 5 years.
Another study tells us that 1,500 pastors per month leave the ministry because of burnout, problems, and moral failure. Without a living relationship with the all-powerful Creator of the universe, we’ll never find the strength needed to cope with all the stresses placed upon us by the church work we’re involved in.
Are you on the fast track to a spiritual derailment? Do you feel like you’re constantly giving out and never replacing your spiritual stores? If so, then the time is now to make a course correction that will affect the rest of your life positively for the glory of God.
In my next post I’ll talk about the specifics of how to get back on track.
Question: How do you regularly take stock of your spiritual life?
© Nick Zaccardi 2015