The Importance of a Spiritual Life
The Importance of a Spiritual Life
It is a bit presumptuous to ask pastors and elders to give attention to spirituality. After all, it is assumed that those involved in spiritual work will be spiritual. However, those of us who are pastors and elders know too well that spirituality is not automatic. It is a daily experience so much so that the Apostle Paul argues that “I die daily.” Also, Ellen White said, “Jesus Himself, while He dwelt among men, was often in prayer.” He did this so “that He might come forth braced for duty and trial. He is our example in everything.” Additionally, she remarked, “And if the Savior of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer” (STC p. 93). Accordingly, it is crucial that each servant of God gives priority to time with God, as this is absolutely critical for ministry and more so for life. By this I speak of a structured devotional life.
Take Nothing for Granted!
It is said that Songs of Solomon 1:6 is possibly the saddest verse in scripture as it says, “They made me the keeper of the vineyards. But my vineyard I have not kept.” Put another way, the Apostle Paul writes, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Cor. 9:27).
As pastors and elders, we need to pay attention to our own souls as well. It is necessary to give and minister to the needs of others, but to do so without addressing one’s own soul could be risky, irresponsible and deadly. Recall the words of Apostle Peter who explained to the lame man at the Temple gate in Acts 3: “Such as I have give I unto thee.” Essentially, one can deduce that a person can only impart what he or she has. Says Peter, “such as I have.” What is it that we have? It must be more than just ability; it must be a spirit-directed life, and that comes as a result of quality time spent with God each day in personal devotion.
The Elder’s/Minister’s Devotional Life
It is fundamental that we study the Sabbath school Lesson as a part of our devotion. It does not look good for pastors and elders not to raise their hand to the question: “All who studied –please indicate by raising your hand.” Also, the study of the Quarterly shows that it is important, as members tend to look to us. Another benefit is that it allows for pastors and elders to study and review church doctrines, positions, themes and various books. In fact, the quarterlies should be kept, as they constitute commentaries. Prayer is a must, and by that I speak of prayer that involves praise and thanksgiving; penitence or confession for sin (yes, we are sinners, but saved by grace) and intercession for our family, members, community and government. Of course, the Bible will be used in the process. Also, personally, I find that reading some other book can be quite inspirational and supplying to the soul.
Finally, I posit the following thought by Ellen White that points to the benefit of a life spent in daily communion with God. She says, “There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, by putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God” (Desire of Ages pp. 250, 251).
Gerhard Pfandl, (1)
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