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6 Ways to Find Contentment in Your Ministry

6 Ways to Find Contentment in Your Ministry

Finding contentment in the midst of ministry is a challenging task. In today’s world, this difficulty is intensified by our insatiable access to sources of ministry jealousy. Social media, podcasts and blogs frequently contribute to intense feelings of discontentment. Even studies in church history often leave a pastor feeling inadequate! After all, who could read about 20-year-old Charles Spurgeon preaching to thousands without being tempted toward resentment? In spite of this potential for temptation, Spurgeon’s own testimony and preaching can encourage weary ministers through restless periods in service to the church.

Here are six insights gained from Charles Spurgeon for those frequent days when the struggle with contentment persists:  

A Reminder

Your current ministry is a call from God. Discontent is often a result of questioning God’s call. In a sermon preached in 1872, Spurgeon responds to “spiritual Don Quixotes” ambitiously seeking better opportunities:

“God has made you what you are, a mother, or a daughter, a husband, a servant or a master; serve God as such… Extraordinary calls may come, and I pray they may come to some here present, but they are not likely to be given to those who cannot use their present every-day opportunities.”

A Truth

The biblical example is of faithful service in both “small” and “large” ministries. Ministers find examples of contentment in service throughout the Bible. Preaching on Rahab, Spurgeon points out,

“Moses kept sheep till he was bidden to deliver Israel; Gideon was threshing when the angel appeared to him; and the disciples were fishing when Jesus called them. They used diligence in their callings, and then threw their hearts into their higher calling. So Rahab did… She fulfilled a very necessary part in Israelitish history. Her faith was truly active and is to be commended.”

A Reality

Every person needs the Gospel, including those in your current ministry. Ministers looking for contentment beyond their current setting neglect those around them. At various points in his ministry, Spurgeon encouraged would-be missionaries to begin preaching to those around them in their local settings first. Speaking to a group of young men, Spurgeon preaches on the need to preach the Gospel in all places and to all people:

“The human mind is the same everywhere. Its sins may take another form, but there are just the same difficulties in one place as in another… Just try your hand at the conversion of that young man who sits next you in the pew. See what you can do for Jesus Christ in the shop. See whether you can serve your Master in that little Bible-class of which you are a member.”

An Encouragement

Every opportunity to preach the Gospel to attentive hearers is a blessing. Preaching the Gospel is a joy whether the audience is large or small. Those trapped in ministry discontentment should be reminded of this encouraging truth. Reflecting on his first sermon preached to “a few poor cottagers” at Teversham, Spurgeon commented,

“Our villages and hamlets offer fine opportunities for youthful speakers. Let them not wait till they are invited to a chapel, or have prepared a fine essay, or have secured an intelligent audience. If they will go and tell out from their hearts what the Lord Jesus has done for them, they will find ready listeners.”

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Stephen Witmer is the pastor of Pepperell Christian Fellowship in Pepperell, Massachusetts and teaches New Testament at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is the author of Eternity Changes Everything and a 12-week study in Revelation. He and his wife Emma have three young children.