Monday, July 18, 2011

Burn-out or Faith?

John MacArthur is a freak. I mean that as the highest compliment. He is exceptional as a pastor and preacher having served his congregation for over 40 years-- with no inclination to stop! He has been a faithful expositional preacher from the get-go and has recently completed preaching through the entire New Testament verse-by-verse. That is amazing for its dedication and longevity. The Lord has clearly had his hand on John MacArthur's life and ministry. While I do not agree with every secondary or tirtiary doctrine that MacArthur does I admire him and seek to emulate him in his faithful and enduring expositional preaching ministry.

The other day as I was listening to one of his Q&A sessions he does on Sunday nights I was struck by a piece of his pastoral wisdom. Over the course of 40 years you might expect him to have gone through burn-out a time or two. We would understand if there were ever seasons he simply lacked the passion to climb behind that pulpit and preach. He's faced a good amount of difficulty and opposition during his lifetime after all. So what about burn-out? Not a bit. He challenged me (though I think he is exceptional in this area) that burn-out is most often the result of pride. We build up these expectations for our ministries and develop a sense of entitlement that when not met leads to depression or burn-out. This is contrary to faith. We do not put our hope in men but in God. We should expect no praise but be thankful for the encouragement. No I can attest to being discouraged or hurt when the enemy attacks but I'm challenged to make sure that hurt gives way to faith rather than burn-out. No man can by his own flesh be so enduringly faithful to a ministry centered on Scripture alone as John MacArthur has been-- it is by faith alone in the power and grace of Christ alone... and this is to the glory of God alone.

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