What is it that brings a pastor joy? I might be tempted to say preaching. When God calls a man to preach the Word, preaching becomes something he longs to do. God instills this desire in the preacher’s heart. He may have been shy and an introvert until this call was placed on his life and now speaking before others things of God is his greatest joy.
But preaching often brings sadness. It is very hard to issue God’s commands and warnings only to watch them fall on ears that cannot hear. Then the preacher must watch congregation struggle with the catastrophes brought on by rebelling against the counsel God. Jesus felt this way when he looked over Jerusalem and its rejection of the prophets. The Bible says “Jesus wept.” So sometimes preaching brings tears of sorrow. That is just the nature of a preachers calling.
Is there anything in a preacher’s life that brings more joy than preaching? After some thought on this I have to say there is. The preacher’s greatest joy is seeing the positive effects on his audience. Preaching is like planting, you labor with the hope for much fruit. Seeing a ripe crop and knowing that your efforts have produced a positive result in others is the greater joy.
There is no guarantee that a preacher will see the fruits of his labor. Most of the time the preacher has no idea what is going on in the hearts of men. Some preachers live there entire life and see only a few converts and minimal spiritual growth. They continue on knowing that on That Day when they stand before the One who called them they will receive their reward.
But when God chooses to encourage a preacher in his work he often shows him a little fruit. That fruit is the fruit of the Spirit in the lives of his congregation. David Clark told me a long time ago that a preacher’s ministry is like looking at an iceberg. You can only see the top and most of it is hidden under the water. When a pastor can see the congregation loving one another, serving other, interested in Scripture and seeking to shape their lives after Christ that is his greatest joy. Because he knows God is doing so much more that he cannot see. I praise God for what I’ve seen at Lee Creek over the years. May His work among us continue.