Summary: We cannot and should not ever allow the distractions and babble of the world to keep us from the sacred duty of proclaiming the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen.

I probably need to take some of you back to school to teach you a word that far too many of us, regardless of occupation or interest, have either neglected, abandoned, or thought to be irrelevant. The word is "diligence", and it means to be steady in one's application as it pertains to business, or a constant effort or exertion to accomplish what is undertaken without idleness or negligence. In other words, finish what you started, and do not allow for anything to thwart, delay, or stop its progression and completion. Don't quit. Don't walk away. Don't commit to anything that you know you either do not have the time, resources, or knowledge to follow through and end up abandoning or shuffling the situation off to someone else. The Lord Jesus taught a lesson on this topic when it came to making up one's mind on following Him as a disciple (Matt.10:34-39; Luke 14:25-33). This also applies to those men whom God has given the task of shepherding His worldwide flock (John 21:17; Acts 20:28; 1 Tim. 3:1-8; 1 Peter 5:1-4). Make sure beyond any doubt, however, that you are truly saved first and have a clear direction and unction from the Lord to preach His Word and shepherd one of His flocks.

I am all too aware that many churches are absolutely toxic, worldly, indifferent, biblically ignorant, and full of just plain mean and despicable people who make the devil blush in comparison. These churches love to eat "roast preacher" and nitpick about his wife and children, comparing them to unrealistic expectations and far too often, exposure to members who they thought were their friends, only to find that they had been part of the mob that decided to vote their father out of the pulpit for nefarious and ungrounded reasons. I have been through this ecclesiastical buzz-saw myself and have witnessed it happen to far too many of my peers and friends over the years. Little wonder that the average pastoral tenure for some denominations is a little over two years, and that ministers in general are leaving their profession at an estimated rate of 1,500 per month.

No historical era since the first century has witnessed a problem-free church or perfect examples of pastors and elders. As nice as it would be, it is not going to happen while we are occupying a fallen world with fallen humanity and fallen natures (Romans 3:10-18), even for those of us to claim to be devout followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. His own apostles had problems, gripes, arguments, and misunderstandings. Just read the Gospels and the book of Acts if you doubt me. Paul himself, one of the godliest men to walk this world, had his share of bad days (Romans 7:13-25; 2 Corinthians 11:24-33). Pastor, you are not exempt or especially marked for troubles. 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 and Ephesians 6:10-18 declare that we are at war with evil men and demonic forces whose goal is to silence the message of Jesus Christ and steer humanity away from the gospel. Scripture teaches that we are soldiers for the LORD, and as such, should not decide to throw down our armor and weapons, abandon the battle, and disobey or second guess the orders and strategy of our Commander. We cannot give up, especially in these last days where evil is spreading at a rapid rate and souls are in the balance. I feel led, however, to spend some time with those of you who started out well in ministry, but have fallen or are discouraged due to the junk, mud, and dung of the world's constant barrage of attacks on the LORD and His people.

I know that there are some of you who got thrown out of the battle by the work of nefarious church members, or by succumbing to temptations that ended your ministry and effectiveness for all practical purposes. For some strange reason too many pastors and elders believe that they are somehow invulnerable and exempt from fleshly allurements and do not need support or friends for accountability or confidentiality. That is blatantly unwise, egotistical, and shows a lack of trust and counsel in God on your part. As a result, you lost your position, trust, respect, and probably your family for a moment of temptation. Dear brother, the same Lord Jesus Christ who restored cursing, swearing, blasphemous Peter, who brought comfort and assurance to an open skeptic like Thomas, and who has rescued both reprobate and backslider from an eternal hell is able to take you and make you a new creation. He is willing to embrace you, forgive you, and restore you not to another pastoral office, but to a new area of service if you will but humble yourself and kneel before the cross. It will take considerable time, patience, and restitution to make things right, to approach the offended and ask for forgiveness, and to come to grips with the fact that you may have to leave that which is familiar and go somewhere else to begin a new phase of your life. A failed ministry does not end God's use for us, nor does it extinguish His love and compassion for you or your loved ones.

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