Got Patience?

Patience-on-truck

I think one of the most difficult lessons to learn in ministry is the importance of patience. In a recent podcast John MacArthur had this to say about patience in ministry:

If there’s anything young ministers need to learn it’s to learn to deal with the learning process [of the church] with great patience. You know much more than the people know, and you know you know more than they know. And the test of your grace, the test of your shepherding will demonstrate itself in whether or not you exhibit great patience; mega-patience as they follow along. And if you need a model, follow Jesus who’s dealing virtually with the same stupid block-heads at the end of his ministry that he had at the beginning.  So three years doesn’t seem to be long enough to get them where they need to be. – John MacArthur

Patience is one of the most important virtues for any shepherd because working with people is extremely difficult and time consuming. It’s not uncommon to spend 3-5 years or more ministering to an individual, simply to have them take all of your love, all of your care, all of the hours spent in counseling and trample it to the ground in a single day. What’s required in those moments, more than anything else, is patience.

In other words, the quality of your shepherding ministry is directly proportionate to your patience and long-suffering with the sheep. I think one of the foremost sins of young ministers and seminary graduates (and I say that as a young minister and seminary graduate) is a lack of patience with the sheep. We tend to think that since we’ve graduated from seminary and preached a couple of good sermons, our sheep should be miraculously sanctified. But the truth of the matter is that sanctification takes a long time, therefore shepherds must exercise the utmost patience with the sheep.

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February 21 2011 05:00 am | Devotional

One Response to “Got Patience?”

  1. Heidi on 21 Feb 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Soooo…are you saying I am a “stupid block-head?” LOL! Thanks, Drew. I always knew you loved me.;-) BWAHAHA!!! Don’t worry, I won’t be in counseling 3-5 years and even if I was to be, I promise I won’t “trample it to the ground in a single day!” I can’t speak for others you counsel. LOL! 😉 You rock! (uh…not as in “block-head,” but as in “way cool”…HA!)