“We are but fools for Christ’s sake.
But professionals are wise.
We are weak.
But professionals are strong.
Professionals are held in honor.
We are in disrepute.
We do not try to secure a professional lifestyle, but we are ready to hunger and thirst and be ill-clad and homeless.”
These words are from the opening quotes of chapter 1 of Brothers We Are Not Professionals. The pastorate may be glamorized and made to be a very professional vocation. Piper seeks to state his view of the pastorate as the office that is held by a man who is a slave to Christ. Piper presents a man who is a man of prayer, a man who weeps over his sin, and a man who denies himself even if it means losing his life for the sake of Christ. The pastorate isn’t one where you can have professional love for people. The pastor knows his place is as an exile upon this earth. The pastor/preacher is one who has been crucified with Christ, not one who lives for the professionalism of the world.
It is my prayer that I can be the kind of pastor/preacher/teacher as defined in Chapter 1. I pray that by God’s grace I can be:
The life-giving preacher is a man of God, whose heart is ever athirst for God, whose soul is ever following hard after God, whose eye is single to God, and in whom by the power of God’s Spirit the flesh and the world have been crucified and his ministry is like the generous flood of a life-giving river.
To be that kind of minister of the gospel only comes by a working of God’s grace. A heart athirst for God is one of constant pursuit of him. To follow every constantly hard after God I must be in his word. I must learn to cherish God above all to keep my eye singularly on him and to have all other things as not as means unto their own ends, but as a means of glorifying God in using those things to show his worth in my life. Being in the power of the Spirit and being crucified in the flesh comes through lots of prayer. Lots of prayer. Ministry always requires lots of prayer. There is no perfect book of church administration, pastoral ministry, preaching, spiritual growth, or anything else under the Sun. There is only God’s perfect word, and his sanctifying grace. The only thing I can do to be a life-giving preacher, and to have a life-giving ministry is to be on my face before God in prayer and in his word.
As God had a plan for his people as they were coming out of exile in Babylon, he told them if they seek him they shall find him. But it wasn’t looking for God like one searches for something on Google or like a child hunting for an Easter egg. The Lord said seek him with all of your heart. To seek him with all of our heart means to abandon all of our idols, including the stupid pride to think we can do ministry on our own. Seek the Lord with me brothers. Let us seek his face, let us eat and never hunger, let us drink of the water of life without price and never thirst. Let us not seek professionalism, but seek the face of the one who saved us and display what we gaze upon for the world to see.