When We Lost Our Heart

Article by: Bridgehaven Team

Counselors Reflect on Dangerous Calling by Paul Tripp
A Series to Care for the Care Takers of God’s People

 In speaking of a pastor whose ministry lacks devotion Paul Tripp says,

“His self-satisfaction means his words and actions in ministry did not grow in the soil of a personal love for and worship of Christ.  Preparation became about downloading a body of truths to people who needed to have their thinking rearranged.  His counseling was more problem solving than gospel encouraging.  And along the way it all began to get dry and unappealing.  It quit having life.  It all stopped being about worship and became an ever-repeating series of pastoral responsibilities.” P. 35.

Obligation. Duty. Expectation.  In and of themselves, each of these things is fine.  But left alone they inspire very little and offer no texture to the fabric, or color to the canvas.  They are as inspiring as the cold, institutionalized walls of a hospital.  What would a love affair be without love?    The cold lifeless reality is that a heart can grow distant and the vision can fade when it is not connected to what it needs to remain warm and full of life.

The pastor loved his congregation in the beginning.  He was moved by the way people needed him and called upon him.  He always dreamed of being in a position to influence people with the gospel and for many years it served him well and kept him motivated.  But the weariness began to take its toll and as his scheduled filled up, his time in the word began to fall by the wayside.  He had trouble saying no, and his flock never seemed to stop having needs.  He didn’t notice it at first, but he began to feel taken advantage of and his occasional misunderstanding with one of the elders didn’t help.  But he just buried it in isolation.  It was so subtle that he failed to notice his love grow cold and his servant heart turned to a victim mentality.  And still his time in the word became a distant memory.

He couldn’t keep up with his schedule so he began to miss his accountability group.  He didn’t have time and, besides, he’d reason, he’ll go next week.  His wife began to notice a kind of comatose look about him and he would come home exhausted.   He had shifted into a duty driven ministry where he gave more and more, but received less and less.  He was burning out fast, but he was the only one who didn’t see it.

This pastor had allowed his most important asset to grow cold.  Just like a log pulled from a campfire, many pastors like him have unintentionally allowed their beating hearts turn to a cold stone-like existence.  Their devotional life became less and less a priority and now they are ministering from an empty cup.  They were giving what they didn’t possess.

This is the third sign of a pastor or Christian worker losing their way.  Psalm 1 reminds us that our delight must be in the law of the Lord and as we meditate upon it we are then, and only then, able to bear fruit and experience deep down heart felt life.  We can lose our way when we lose our heart.



535826: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry By Paul David Tripp / Crossway Books & Bibles