A good reminder from Robby Gallaty in Exalting Jesus in Malachi (Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary):

“Regarding vocational ministers, without a doubt, there is perversion throughout the history of the clergy; such transgression was not isolated to the priests of the OT. Whether we look at the Roman Catholic sexual scandals, the adulterous, immoral relationships of some pastors, or the greed of many televangelists, no one is outside of the sting of sin. Sadly, many apparently get away with their sinful leadership. But God, who sees it all and certainly does not forget anything, holds church leaders to a higher standard. James 3:1 is a sobering reminder: “Not many should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive a stricter judgment.”

Church leaders are examined both by the Lord and by other people. Ministers’ families are constantly being scrutinized. Their finances are constantly being examined. Their material possessions are being analyzed and questioned. People from the inside and outside of the church judge their marriages, speech, actions, and attitudes all the time. Additionally, a pastor experiences the constant burden for lost family members, for backslidden church members, and of performing funerals for friends. This may be one reason why hundreds of pastors leave the ministry every single month.

Ministry is both a terrifying and a thrilling endeavor. The thought of standing before a righteous God to give an account for how His gospel was carried out is alarming. But what a privilege to be set apart for ministerial service! However, with great privilege comes great responsibility. Thankfully, One has come who carried out this responsibility perfectly. He was righteous under the law, never being led astray. Jesus stands as the quintessential priest and fulfillment of the Levitical priesthood.

Five key points can be extracted from this text as they relate to the calling of ministers:

1. Pray for their proclamation, that they would be men and women who preach and teach the gospel, the whole counsel of God.

2. Pray for their purity. The greatest gift that a minister can give is not his preaching ability, his ability to visit the sick or to comfort those who have lost loved ones, how consistently he visits hospitals, or how engaging of a counselor he is. The greatest gift a pastor can offer to his church is his personal holiness before the Lord.

3. Pray for your leaders’ marriages. The enemy would love nothing more than to destroy marriages. What God has brought together, Satan would delight in tearing asunder.

4. Pray for their protection. The enemy is likened to a roaring lion seeking to destroy and devour leaders in the church (1 Pet 5:8).

5. Pray for their perseverance. Ask God to empower them to stand firm to the end, looking to Jesus as their source, strength, and example of faithful service (cf. Heb 12:1-4).”

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