As a gospel preacher, my life has been blessed immensely in numerous ways. I have zero regrets about my decision to preach “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8).
Did you know that preachers of the gospel sometimes become frustrated? Evangelists pour their heart and soul into their labors and, as we would expect, not everything goes like they would like to see it go. Frustration can set in. If it does, how are we going to deal with it? That which is causing us to be frustrated, is it really a big matter, or is it a small thing? Is there something that I can do about it? This frustration-causing matter, is it a problem that can be solved, or is it a reality of life that cannot be changed?
Like all Christians, gospel preachers must be careful and not allow their disappointments/ frustrations to turn into discouragement or ongoing depression that handicaps and hinders them. In times of frustration, people can become pessimistic and negative in their outlook. We must make an effort to look for positive, encouraging things that are taking place. Will we choose to dwell on the good that we see in the actions of God’s faithful, or will we dwell on problems and shortcomings? The choice is ours.
Why do evangelists sometimes get frustrated? It may be that they do not see many visible results from their preaching and work. Conversions and restorations may seem to be few in number and come slowly. They may think, “Lord, how can I go on?!” In other cases, a preacher’s family may not give him the moral support which he needs. That is frustrating.
Other preachers feel that they are doing a decent job, but rather than receive words of encouragement and appreciation, they are criticized severely. This hurts. In some instances, preachers feel that the church is apathetic toward God’s work. The temptation may be to think, “Why should I keep on preaching my heart out and working when people do not even care?”
It sometimes is the case that evangelists see areas where the local church needs to make changes and improvements. They work diligently to help the church move in the right direction on these issues, but they feel like they are not making any progress. Another source of frustration and disappointment that really “hits home” with gospel preachers is to see that those whom they helped convert or those with whom they worked diligently now have completely fallen away or else have left to attend elsewhere. This can be a real dagger to the heart of a preaching brother.
We all need to remember that discouragement has no good fruit (Matthew 7:16,20). It paralyzes us. It is a rotten influence on others who see it strangling us. It hinders our focus on what is important, which is keeping our hearts set on things above (Colossians 3:2). In times of disappointment, preachers must avoid jumping to unfounded conclusions, such as, “No one wants to do anything,” or, “There is not one zealous person left in the church today.”
When people choose not to accept the gospel, they are not rejecting its messengers, but the Lord. We must try not to take it as a rejection of us personally. When the nation of Israel cried out for a king in the latter days of Samuel, they were not rejecting Samuel, but rather God and His arrangement (1 Samuel 8:7).
Evangelists must ever keep in mind what true “success” really is – it is doing what the Lord wants us to do and helping others to do the same thing. God gave this reminder to Joshua: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8). What about Noah? Was he a successful person? Well, (1) he served the Lord faithfully (Genesis 6:8,9,22), (2) he preached the right message (2 Peter 2:5), and (3) he was able to help his own family be saved (Hebrews 11:7). What more would the Lord expect?!
Here is a reminder for myself and my fellow- preaching brothers, including those who currently are frustrated in some aspect of their work or lives. Knowing that His apostles would be devastated by His demise and departure, on the eve of His death, Jesus told them, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11). We must maintain our joy in the Lord!
Do not forget, evangelists, it is a great joy to be able to preach the gospel. It is a joy to be able to help others learn about the Lord and His salvation. It is a joy to help other Christians grow, and it is a joy to help them prepare to teach others. This type of joy cannot be bought or learned from a book. True joy is based on our relationship with the Lord, not our material environment. Paul was filled with joy, even when he was in chains (2 Timothy 4:6-8).
We have observed some gospel preachers who just seem to have a sour disposition. Much of their conversations are negative, they complain constantly, and when you look at their face, they just look unhappy and disgusted about life in general. Yes, life can be frustrating, but we need to “get a grip.” May God’s preachers never lose their love for serving and preaching the King of kings and Lord of lords!
— Roger D. Campbell