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>Personal Discipline in Ministry

>The following words of A.W. Tozer spurred me on last week. They were convicting but they spurred me on. I don’t want to be “privileged idler.” We have so many more distractions available to us today than the ministers of Tozer’s day. His wise admonishment is as timely and pertinent as ever.

“Another trap into which the preacher is in danger of falling is that he may do what comes naturally and just take it easy. I know how ticklish this matter is and, while my writing this will not win me friends, I hope it may influence people in the right direction. It is easy for the minister to be turned into a privileged idler, a social parasite with an open palm and an expectant look. He has no boss within sight; he is not often required to keep regular hours, so he can work out a comfortable pattern of life that permits him to loaf, putter, play, doze and run about at his pleasure. And many do just that.

To avoid this danger the minister should voluntarily impose upon himself a life of labor as arduous as that of a farmer, a serious student or a scientist. No man has any right to a way of life less rugged than that of the workers who support him. No preacher has any right to die of old age if hard work will kill him.”

A.W. Tozer, God Tells the Man Who Cares, pgs. 94-95.

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Discussion

5 thoughts on “>Personal Discipline in Ministry

  1. >Good point, Dwight.God often has to ween us off ourselves and our gifts/talents to remain dependent on Him.That self-reliance is not only a heinous inducement to “coasting,” but also to prayerlessness.

    Posted by GUNNY | January 28, 2008, 9:38 pm
  2. >I think that one of the reasons for the slacker tendency in some pastors is something that I touched on a week or so ago. Often a person who is gifted and talented to do a certain thing, such as teaching, will tend to rely on that gifting and just sort of coast, getting by on what talent alone supplies. It doesn’t start out as laziness or slothfulness, but it can certainly become that if one does not embrace a discipline of industriousness. If the enemy can’t influence you to do the wrong things, he’ll settle for encouraging you to do not much of anything.

    Posted by Dwight | January 28, 2008, 9:34 pm
  3. >Tozer was just “old school” and was a product of his culture. Having lived through the Great Depression, WWI and WWII, he was permeated with the “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” mentality. If we can see through this, we can still see great wisdom in what he says. While I agree his last statement sounds like something my dad would have said (VERY extreme), I get the message.

    Posted by Mark Mathews | January 28, 2008, 2:05 pm
  4. >I read Tozer’s biography and he did neglect his family quite a bit. His last sentence is extreme (working yourself to death) but the point is well-taken about working as hard in ministry as your members do in their vocation. Perhaps you didn’t have Tozer in mind with your comment. I was uneasy with what I know of Tozer’s family life but I thought the admonishment was still a good one overall. I could see how a quote like this could justify a workaholic mentality though. Aside from Tozer, I think there is alot of the two extremes you mentioned from what I know anecdotally. Perhaps unrealistic demands by the congregation can prod one to workaholism if they are already bent that way. I don’t know. Maybe others have better insight into the matter.

    Posted by Jeff Wright | January 28, 2008, 10:20 am
  5. >Why is it that the ministry attracts (and/or produces) slackers or compulsive workaholics?Have you noticed that? Either a guy is a spare skating along on the people’s dime, or he’s sacrificing his family on the altar of ministerial business.I know sloth causes the former and I guess it’s pride that feeds the latter.

    Posted by GUNNY | January 28, 2008, 6:42 am

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