Preachers are expendable didn’t you know?

This post was written for me.  Sometimes when you have given all you can give you have to stop, regroup, and refresh yourself. This is one of those days for me.  This post has no particular purpose except to allow me to expose my inter-most thoughts in hope of God’s healing hand. When you read this post you are being given an opportunity to look into the window of my soul.

More than thirty years ago Charles Coil told a group of young preachers, “If you can do anything in life other than preach do it.” Thirty-three years later I know exactly what he meant.  Preaching the gospel is the greatest privilege God affords man this side of eternity.  It is a privilege beyond description to present to your fellow man the gospel of Jesus. Unfortunately it comes with a price attached.  At times that price is almost more than I can pay.

Preaching comes with the price of a preacher being held to a different standard than everyone else.  It comes with the price of longing for a friend to share thoughts and problems and knowing no earthly friend can fill this void. To preach one needs a hide as thick as an elephant, ears that never listen to the harsh words hurled in your direction, and a heart so strong it isn’t easily broken. Days like today I wonder if I am strong enough to be God’s messenger.

Preaching means standing for what’s right even when brethren oppose you.  It means listening to lies told about you and not responding in kind even though you want to respond with every fiber of your being. Sometimes it means watching as Satan uses our own to pick off God’s children one by one. It sometimes means watching those to whom you have given all you have turn away as if you are of no value.  After all I am just the preacher and preachers are expendable.  Preachers are not real people are they?  I wonder am I strong enough to be God’s messenger?

Preaching often means being hundreds or thousands of miles from those you love most.  It means missing your grandchildren grow up.  It often means not being there when your elderly parents need you most. It means not being able to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.  Things like inviting your children to have Sunday dinner with you. I don’t know if I am strong enough to be God’s messenger.

Most of all preaching means rarely having that friend you can count on,  the kind of friend who is closer than a brother.  At times it is lonely, discouraging, and disappointing.  There are times when you want to just curl up and die.  Dealing with Satan isn’t the problem. The things that bother me most are the disappointments that come from your spiritual family, those with whom our relationship ought be thicker than blood. I don’t know if I am strong enough to be God’s messenger.

I know the sun will come up tomorrow if there is a tomorrow.  There will be better days. After all these years one would think one would get used to the hurts.  There are days when the disappointment is so thick all you can do is depend on the Holy Spirit to take your needs to God. There are days so hard your words can’t express how you feel. These are the days when we place total trust in  God because without Him I couldn’t be strong enough to be God’s messenger.

Thanks for listening, but pay this post no mind.  I not a real person, I am just a preacher and we are expendable, didn’t you know?

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18 Responses to Preachers are expendable didn’t you know?

  1. Dear Friend,

    I understand your struggle all too well. I have felt just as you may be feeling. Preachers pour out their lives…giving all they have and all they are to a group of people, who at times, very much appreciate what the preacher has done or is doing for them…and yet, for some congregations, when the going gets tough, the preacher is the easy scapegoat for trials or struggles. It is distressing and disturbing. I think that we are supposed to be supermen on many, if not most, occasions (not being overly zealous…or showing anger, sadness or such), but there is not doubt that we are, indeed, men with spiritual zeal and human frailties. You are correct in that there are not many who can or do understand the stresses of ministry (preaching is really the easy part, at least for me…ministry is quite difficult much of the time). It would be good if, at times, folks could be so objective as to try to walk a couple of miles, or spend a couple of years in our shoes…perspective is a powerful, but humbling matter. Know that I love you and am always available…as if there is one thing I have learned concerning ministry, it is that — only other preachers can truly understand preachers. And, by the way, I also miss my parents and my sister, being over two thousand miles away. Take care and God bless,

    Don

  2. Thanks Don.

  3. christina says:

    Dell,
    I’ve known you 23 years. Don’t tell my real age! I know how hard it was for you to come to my dad’s funeral because of the people who were also attending. But you did. And you did it for me and Becky. I thank you very much and it meant so much to me. “NORMAL” people have those days too. Here lately, I’ve been having those weeks and years. Wondering why God let’s us go through so much when we know that the other person is the one in the wrong. And when you’re the one being a Christian and not lying and going around throwing fits people think you’re the one that’s strange . I just want to yell, “I’m a Christian and we don’t act that way!” To me preachers don’t need to live up to other standards. God has us all equal no matter what. I’ve been through politics at a big church nd seen how they do preachers. Infact I was the shoulder for one of the wive’s, and the preacher. They are like my extra set of parents thst God provided because He knew I would need them. One of my lawyers under his signature puts John 16:33, At first I thought he screwed up John 3:16. Then I read it. Some how, (I know God does it) scriptures seem to be put infront of me when I need them the most. I don’t know if you ever got to read the piece I wrote on peace, but I go back and read it to remind me why I have peace when everything is so chaotic. And believe me, My life right now is overly chaotic. God knows what we can handle and won’t give us anymore than that. Love to you and Robbi! Hug her for me!

  4. christina says:

    One more thing, I don’t know if the copy of my book went through when I e-mailed it to you, but if you’ve read the first page, you are one of the people I thanked, because you are a great influence on others, whether you realize it or not. For every one person who has said something to hurt you there’s 10 and more saying what a great friend you’ve been and they wouldn’t have you be any other way! Love ya, Christina

  5. DeWayne says:

    Dell,

    To put this in words is difficult. It is not the fighting against those of the world and error that exacts a horrible price. It is the darts and arrows of those who are supposed to fellow servants of the Lord. It is those who think and say they are Christian, and then wage war against the Church of God in the name of God all under the banner of truth. Their arrows usually sink deeply in the back of God’s preaching servant. They commit this evil and call it good. God forgive them lest they loose their souls.

    My beloved fellow servant of God, do not let their slings and arrows quell your spirit. Look to the Lord and let Him heal the wounds. I know that you love the Lord and have given your life to serve Him. What is important is that He knows that you serve Him, and He will comfort you with His Spirit.

    I have shed these same tears. I shed them now for you. You do not walk alone. I walk by your side.

    In Him DeWayne

  6. Thanks Christina

  7. Thanks DeWayne.

  8. Richard says:

    Dell, I am not a gospel preacher and probably cannot understand the sacrifices that preachers endure to do the Lord’s work. All I can tell you is that you are appreciated by so many and so many have come to Jesus because of the Lord working in and through you. You are dependable. Patty and I love you and Robbi. I realize you are not an iron man and that you have feelings and emotions like we all do. You are made in the image of God, and for that and your friendship, I thank God. In spite of all the road blocks that Satan throws in front of you, please know you are appreciated and loved.

    Your brother, Richard

  9. Thanks Richard, I appreciate you brother.

  10. Judy says:

    You are one preacher who is not expendable. We love you. Bob and Judy

  11. Thanks Bob and Judy, Love you guys too.

  12. Jan says:

    I am still here and I always will be. I pray for you and Robbi often. If anyone knows what a preacher goes through, besides a preacher, it’s a church secretary. You are a great preacher and you and Robbi are dear friends. I still don’t understand the things y’all have had to endure–except Saten knows who his enemies are and tries to defeat them. But God is greater than anything Saten throws at you. Be strong, remember Job, God has great plans for you.
    Much Love, Jan

  13. Keith Shepherd says:

    Dear Hurting Heart,

    Even in this my brother, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” God knows the hearts of every person. He is able through the Holy Spirit, according to Romans 8, to hear and understand what is in our hearts even if we can not put the feelings into words.

    With Prayers,

    Keith

  14. Jan and Keith, Thanks.

  15. What!!?? Who needs preachers!!?? Yeah … preachers in Churches of Christ are often the most over worked and underpaid people on the planet. I appreciate your post brother.

  16. Thanks Bobby!

  17. Dennis says:

    Dell,
    I’m sorry you are having to go through this garbage. Unfortunately we have a history of eating our own. Hang in there. A lot of people are pulling for you (and praying). God Bless, Dennis

  18. Don Morrison says:

    Dell –
    Today, I read this post and it sure resonates. I hope you are well, my brother. Many people love and care for you.

    Don

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