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Ministerial Tips To Avoid Discouragement

A discouraged minister dreamed he was standing atop a granite boulder and working diligently to break it with a sledgehammer. Hour after hour he worked with no results. At last he said, “It is useless; I’ll quit.”

Suddenly a man stood by him and asked, “Were you not given this task? If so, why are you going to stop your work?”

The minister replied, “My work is in vain; I can make no impression on this granite.”

The stranger solemnly replied, “That is not your business. Your full duty is to hammer away whether the rock yields or not. The results are in another’s hands — keep working.” The minister saw himself setting out with renewed vigor. At his first blow of the hammer, the granite fell into hundreds of pieces.

Sometimes we may feel like the discouraged minister. Here are tips that will help you overcome discouragement:

1. Don’t allow others to rob you of your self-worth as a servant of God. Your value is in Christ, our Lord and Savior. He constantly tells us how much He loves us.

2. Ignore any rumor unless there is clear evidence of its reality. Then take it to God in prayer and seek His wisdom of approach.

3. Don’t waste time trying to determine the origin of anonymous letters. As soon as it is determined that a letter is anonymous, throw it away.

4. Don’t take rejection of an idea as a personal rejection. People can reject an idea without rejecting the individual. Your ideas and plans are separate from who you are as a person. An idea is an idea.

5. Avoid developing a God complex; however, a minister cannot be just “one of the guys.” You are called out to be God’s spokesperson with a servant’s spirit and mentality.

6. Don’t think you are right all the time. You are human, so there will be mistakes. When you err, admit your error, make whatever restitution is required, get up, and continue your journey. Rejoice that you are a member of the human race.

7. Don’t share with your spouse every criticism you hear about yourself, your family, or your ministry. Criticism not only increases discouragement but may possibly start the discouragement process in your mate.

8. Your personal joy does not depend on circumstances, salary, what others say or do, or the personal attention you receive. Joy, happiness, and personal fulfillment do not come from others or from things but from within — the Spirit within and an attitude of gratitude birthed by the Holy Spirit. You alone are personally responsible for your joy and fulfillment.

Ten rules for letting go of discouragement are: (1) Go out and do something for someone else. (2) Repeat step 1 nine times.

Your stature is determined by how much it takes to discourage you. Be encouraged.

Earl J. Banning, Houston, Texas

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