Jump Starts Daily

Jump Start # 3227

Jump Start # 3227

2 Corinthians 7:6 “But God who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus.”

  A young preacher called the other day. He was discouraged. He was thinking of quitting and doing something else. He needed to vent and I happen to have a couple of big ears to listen. The shepherds where he was at were dragging their feet on this and that. He thought he should have gotten a better raise. He felt that he wasn’t appreciated. Should he move? Should he quit?  He talked. I listened. I could tell he was feeling really down. I know those feelings all too well. I have been there myself. Elijah in a cave, that’s what it’s like. Gloom and despair fill the skies when one is down in the dumps.

  But this is much bigger than a younger preacher who is discouraged. From time to time all of us get in that valley. People disappoint us. People don’t keep their promises. People let us down. What we think ought to happen, doesn’t. And, for some that journey through the blues of discouragement lasts a long, long time.

  Discouragement can be the final nail in the coffin that buries a marriage. Discouragement is a leading cause of why some walk away from the Lord or shift to another congregation. I heard a preacher begin his sermon with, “I am really depressed today.” It was hard to stay with him because of that opening statement. When discouraged a person begins to look for the exit door. Out of preaching. Resigning as a shepherd. Walking away from a marriage. Walking away from the Lord.

  How does one get encouraged? How do you pull yourself out of the blues?

  First, it’s up to you. Much too often we expect the church, the sermon, the shepherds or someone, anyone, to help us get back where we ought to be. There is a great illustration from the life of David that helps us. He was being chased by crazed king Saul. He returns home to find his family has been kidnapped. The men with him are so distraught, discouraged and defeated that they consider killing David. The passage says that “David strengthened himself.” That’s the key. There wasn’t anyone else who was going to do this. And, when we expect, wait and want others to pull us up out of the pits of pity and despair, it often doesn’t happen and then we sink even deeper in that dark hole.

  What can you do to encourage yourself? What can you do to help your spirit? What can you do that will give you a better feeling in the Lord? That’s where you must start. Stop waiting for others and do what you can to help yourself. Changing the atmosphere helps. Switching your thoughts to something else helps. As long as we keep dwelling on how bad we feel, we will feel bad. Find something positive to do. Pray.

  Second, keeping the Heavenly perspective always helps with getting the right balance in your thinking and your emotions. Remember Jesus. People walked away from Him. People falsely accused Him. And, that ole’ rugged cross, who can forget that? People let you down? They did Jesus. People hurt you? They did Jesus. People disappoint you? They did Jesus. But Jesus has never let you down. Jesus has never hurt you. Jesus has never disappointed you. You don’t follow people, you follow the Lord. The Lord has always been there for you. The Lord has been good to you. His blessings continue to flow. His forgiveness and grace is always available. Trust Him. Love Him. Follow Him.

  Find a hymn and sing to yourself. It will bring that Heavenly perspective to you. Count your blessings and be thankful. Realize Satan wants you to walk away. Satan wants you to give up. Satan wants you to think more about yourself and your feelings than others.

  Third, the Lord knows the good that you are doing. No one else may. No one else may appreciate what you are doing, but God does. What you are doing is right and good and you need to stay at it. A cup of cold water given to another, who would even mention that? God does. He saw. He knew. Only the Lord knows the hours you poured into writing a sermon or developing a meaningful class. Only the Lord knows the effort you put into making food for someone else. God knows and isn’t that all that matters. The right hand does not have to know what the left hand does.

  Fourth, the Lord doesn’t want you to be discouraged. You won’t find a passage that gives a green light to being in the dumps. What we do find are verses about being thankful or rejoicing or building up one another. When Paul was depressed, God sent Titus. When Elijah was hiding in the cave, God told him to get out and appoint someone as king. Jumping back into the work that we do in the kingdom gets our minds off of ourselves and it keeps us busy doing great things.

  What did I tell that young preacher who called? He had to make the decision for himself. I told him that most preachers get discouraged. I said I long have thought about quitting every Monday morning. But Tuesday rolls around and there are things to be done. I then reminded him of the apostle who was treated as the scum of the earth. Then I asked him about all the people he has helped through the years. What would it be like for him to quit because he didn’t feel like he was treated fairly. God has and God will treat him fairly.

  I don’t know if brethren, especially shepherds will ever understand the emotions and the heart of a preacher. Some treat the relationship like a cold business. Some brag about all the benefits they get at work or at retirement and never once think of the preacher who gets a monthly check and nothing else. When he is finished, there won’t be anything for him and he will be replaced as quickly as possible. That’s the world of preaching. Many can’t take it. Many get so discouraged they get out. But when we realize the enormous good that is being done worldwide in the kingdom, and that souls are being saved eternally, and that God understands, the preacher quietly keeps these thoughts to himself and labors on. He knows he is doing what is good and noble. He knows that the Lord knows.

  I also told this young preacher that the grass always looks greener elsewhere. But that grass still has to be mowed. Every job and every church has things that can discourage you. One can focus on those things or one can focus upon his blessings.

  The young preacher continues to preach.