Don’t Be a Lazy Pastor or Missionary

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One of the most common statements and disgraceful commentaries of those who work in the ministry is that they are lazy.  So many people think that being a pastor, missionary, or full-time Christian worker is an easy, cushy job because you don’t have to work hard, you don’t have to work long hours, and you don’t have to get up and be diligent.

The sad reality is that often what people say is true.  Preachers and ministers can be the world’s worst at taking time off, needing to spend “family time”, running late, being lazy, and not working hard.  Not all are that way, but for some reason we have earned this reputation.  Could it be that we can tend to be lazy?  Could it be that many of the people in our churches work much harder than we do?  Could it be that we should repent of our sin of laziness and build some guidelines and schedules into our lives that keeps us accountable and helps us to be diligent in our business?

Below is what Martin Luther had to say about lazy preachers:

“Some pastors and preachers are lazy and no good. They rely on these and other good books to get a sermon out of them. They do not pray; they do not study; they do not read; they do not search the Scripture. It is just as if there were no need to read the Bible for this purpose.

They use such books as offer them homiletical helps in order to earn their yearly living; they are nothing but parrots and jackdaws, which learn to repeat without understanding, though our purpose and the purpose of these theologians is to direct preachers to Scripture with such books and exhort them to plan to defend our Christian faith after death, against the devil, the world, and the flesh…

Therefore the call is: Watch, study, attend to reading. In truth, you cannot read too much in Scripture; and what you read you cannot read too carefully, and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well, and what you understand well you cannot teach too well, and what you teach well you cannot live too well.

Believe a man who has found this out. It is the devil, it is the world, it is our flesh that are raging and raving against us. Therefore, dear sirs and brethren, pastors and preachers, pray, read, study, be diligent. Truly, this evil, shameful time is not the season for being lazy, for sleeping and snoring. Use the gift that has been entrusted to you, and reveal the mystery of Christ.”

–Martin Luther, What Luther Says: An Anthology, comp. Ewald M. Plass (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959), entry no. 3547, 1110.

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