In Paul’s first letter to Timothy he says, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” First, Paul tells Timothy to watch his life closely. Why? Because a pastor cannot quench the thirst of others with an empty cup.
Ministry is difficult. Those of us who are pastors understand this. We have the responsibility of shepherding God’s people and live with the burden that one day we will stand before God and give an account of how we have stewarded this blessing (Heb. 13:17).
Consider this statistic provided by Pastoral Care, Inc. They reported that only one out of ten pastors will actually retire as a pastor. Now, this may not describe you, your network of friends or your context, but one thing is true: pastoral ministry is difficult and, if we’re not careful, we can burn out.
Your alarm goes off in the morning, rousing you from your sleep. What is your first response? If you’re like me, you may check Facebook, look at missed emails, respond to text messages or read the news. You do all of this before you even get out of the bed.
From the very moment of waking up, the world is already fighting for our attention. And in this moment we often neglect to look to God in worship and praise. Why am I passionate about this?
Will God be faithful? Will He provide for us? Is He going to save us? Where is He?
These questions must have been in the mind of every Israelite during the time of Esther. They had been taken into captivity and were living under Persian rule. Unlike the rest of their brothers and sisters, they had not yet returned to their homeland (Ezra/Nehemiah) and continued to live in a foreign land under a foreign ruler. To make matters worse, on the eve of the Passover, a decree had gone out that all of the Jews would be destroyed within a year. The future did not look bright for God’s people.