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Fundamentals of Biblical Discipleship Part 4: Spheres of mentoring: Pastor to preacher boy: Part 6

Expect Him to Develop a Wisely Focused, Diligent Work Ethic

A sixth suggestion that I would like to present, is the importance of expecting young men to develop a wisely focused, diligent work ethic. It is a common perception by some that the ministry is a “soft occupation” for those that do not like to work hard. While practical observation of some unfaithful ministers may strengthen that perception, that misunderstanding is totally off base, considering the Biblical expectation on ministers of the gospel. Some men in the ministry are workaholics who are practically speaking are “wed” to the labor of ministry, while others do just enough to get by, and take advantage of whatever “perks” they can have. The reality is that anyone who will be serious about serving in the office of elder/pastor must be a wise steward of the gifts of God, and a diligent wisely focused worker.

There is a tremendous work load that comes to mind as one honestly evaluates the Scriptures regarding pastoral responsibility. Young men who desire to go into ministry need to be met squarely with the weight of this commitment. We must strive to live in that Biblical balance, and perhaps the best way to do that is to keep before us the nature of the office. My purpose in this article is not to tell you where the balance is, but to encourage you to think about several passages that emphasize the various labors of pastoral ministry. For some there ought to be a serious consideration of cutting back on nonessentials, and for others there may be a need to step up your labors. I pray that as you meditate on these passages, the Lord would give you the wisdom to live that delicate balance personally, as well as reasonably set your expectations of younger men whom you mentor. May each of us be wise and faithful stewards who exercise our God-given responsibilities to the glory of God!

• Bi-vocational ministry is not always required, nor is it forbidden:

Acts 20:32-35 “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

II Thessalonians 3:7 “For yourselves know how ye ought to follow us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you: Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.”

I Corinthians 9:13-15 “Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 4 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.”

• Ministry must be a laboring expression of love:

Revelation 2:2-5 “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

• We should be willing to suffer if called to do so for the sake of the ministry:

I Corinthians 9:22-27 “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

• Providing for the needs of one’s family is a non-negotiable:

I Timothy 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

• Young men must be willing to carry a heavy load:

Lamentations 3:27 “It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.”

• We must be faithful in every avenue of life:

Titus 1:6 “If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly, for a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God;”

• We must be serious students who rightly divides the word of God:

II Timothy 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

• We must feed the flock:

Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”

I Peter 5:2 “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind.”

• We must do the work of an evangelist:

II Timothy 4:5 “But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

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