I’ve Met Too Many Pastors Who Have Succumbed

Wednesday is for Prayer

My incredible wife (every man should have it so good), is constantly sending me stuff that might be worth passing on to others. Today she sent this short missive from A.W. Tozer:

The Lord is my shepherd;
.    I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down
.    in green pastures;

He leads my beside the still waters.
He restores my soul…. –Psalm 23:1-3

“Human nature being what it is, the man of God may soon adopt an air of constant piety and try to appear what the public thinks he is. The fixed smile and hollow tones of the professional cleric are too well known to require further mention [and too well caricatured in literature and film].

All this show of godliness, by the squeeze of circumstances and through no fault of the man himself, may become a front behind which the man hides, a plaintive, secretly discouraged and lonely soul. Here is no hypocrisy, no intentional double living, no actual desire to deceive. The man has been mastered by the circumstances. He has been made the keeper of other people’s vineyards but his own vineyard has not been kept. So many demands have been made upon him that they have long ago exhausted his supply. He has been compelled to minister to others while he himself is in desperate need of a physician.”
—-A.W. Tozer, God Tells the Man Who Cares, 115. [bracketed comments added]

I have met too many church planters, pastors and leaders who have succumbed. It is a dangerous and destructive thing to minister to others from behind a mask hiding hollowness. Don’t do it.

Suggested Prayers:

For church planters: “Lord protect me from becoming so consumed with the work that I cease to worship You. Make me soft and supple to Your Spirit so that Your reign in my life is obvious and magnetic for Your glory. In the name of the Risen One, Amen.”

For other leaders: “Lord, keep me from the hypocrisy that can creep into a life because my fear of men is great and my fear of you is shallow. Don’t let me shrink back from the demands of my call, but don’t let me do them without You. For the glory of the Son I ask it, Amen.”

2 thoughts on “I’ve Met Too Many Pastors Who Have Succumbed

  1. Marty, I feel this maybe why Jesus told his apostles to not take anything with them when they evangelized. So they would be humble and ordinary and therefore be more effective at converting people. They would be more relatable if they weren’t so polished. Sometimes I think religious leaders seem a little too slick (almost like infomercials) instead an ordinary person you can connect with.


  2. Just the other day I was sitting in the lunchroom of a Christian university, talking to a 30-ish pastor in training. An ex-Marine with a wife, he was not exactly a novice to life. On the other hand, he was amazed to hear me say that being a pastor is the loneliest, most dangerous profession to have. Why, because of the front that we are constantly forced to maintain.

    I told him that, as a pastor, you will probably have no one to talk to or confide in. “You won’t even be able to tell your psychiatrist EVERYTHING, because even his/her faith may be affected, ” I said. I told him that it is no wonder so many pastors die of a sudden overdose of lead.

    I appreciate this post. You touched on a very real problem for those of us in ministry, especially those of us in bi-vocational work. With precious few friends, if any, and the constant pressure to be the “man of God,” we need to be reminded now and then that we are human; that we’re allowed to fail. We also need to be reminded that ministers need ministering, too.


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