I am still buried in the sorrow after I reading a passage on Wechat named "Safe trip, Pastor Gong." Today I am impressed by another article reflecting on the high death rate of pastors written by Pastor Wei Chang'an.
The young pastor who earned a bachelor degree in theology from Nanjing Union Theological Seminary and a master degree from Yanjing Theological Seminary started to serve in a local church of Lintong District, Xi'an in 2004. Unfortunately, she just left us at the golden age of her life.
Pastor Gong was not the only one who dedicated life to the church at an early age. The death rate of pastors has a tendency to increase. Pastor Wei mentioned an overseas survey conducted in 1988. Among 35 occupations, pastors suffer the largest stress and anxiety. More than 80% of pastors often live in stress and anxiety.
Pastors are servants specially chosen by God. They have to face pressure from churches, believers, society and family. They are also faced with the attack of Satan. However, they should have a longer life with God's blessing and other believers' love.
The problems must lie in people. The most important job is to alleviate and even eliminate the phenomenon.
In recent years, many young Chinese pastors just broke down in the all-consuming job. We pastors should care more about the life and body of pastors.
1. We should cherish life
We only live for once. If we lose it, it will never come again. As Jesus said: " If a man gains the whole world but lost his own soul, that's meaningless. Nothing is as important as life. "
In Paul's opinion, the body is not only the temple of the holy spirit, but also the vessel to glorify God. He said: "Don't you know that you are God's temple and God's spirit lives in you? You were bought at a high price so we wanted to glorify God in your body."
Many preachers completely ignore the protection of their body and drain out their energy. Their state of health is bad.
The job of pastors is actually a revolution. We are fighting against the devil. The spiritual battle requires enormous strength and energy. If pastors lost health and life, they will have nothing to serve God!
2 Keep our body healthy
Dickens said: "We are granted with life by God. At the same time we should be brave enough to protect it until the last minute of life."
As a pastor, in order to better serve God and our family, we should keep our body healthy. This is not only the respect for life, but also God's requirements on each pastor.
We should listen to Paul's teachings and never abuse or destroy the temple of God. "If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him."
Pastors should always remember to keep a normal diet and sleeping early. We should take regular exercise. God will never ask us to carry on more burden than what we can bear. Proper exercise is beneficial to the health of human body. However, lack of exercise is common in modern life.
We should achieve a balance between the quiet mind and physical exercise. They are both important for keeping healthy. We can calm down and read a book after a day of work in the secular world. Then our state of mind will overcome impatience and anxiety. We are far away from the temptation of fame and money. Praying in front of God is especially beneficial to our physical and mental health.
3 Have more rest
When we work, we should pay our full attention. When we have rest, we should release our body and mind. Both job and rest are part of our life.
Ford once said that a man who only knows to work without rest is just like a dangerous car without brake.
God has created both the morning and the evening. The evening is set for humans' mind and body to have rest. Although it seems that we lost time while we sleep. However, we got the energy for working on the next day. Bernard Shaw once said: "God created the world on former six days. He rested on the seventh day."
Sometimes, in order to better serve God, we should learn to refuse unreasonable demands. Mark recorded that when Jesus prayed in the wilderness in the morning, Simon said to him that everyone was looking for him. Jesus still chose to preach in the nearby village because he knew that he was coming for this.
Pastors don't have to promise everything they are asked to do. We are servants of God instead of men. We are responsible for the temple of God(our body)!
4 Stay away from loneliness
Staying away from loneliness is an important lesson that we should learn. We are engaged in a spiritual war. We should not be too confident. Dealing with the enemy alone is dangerous.
Jesus, the most strong and tough person in the world, when he found that he was going to be caught, he felt great pain in his heart. However, at the important moment of praying, his disciples fell asleep.
Jesus's heart just broke! The disciples were right in front of him, sleeping without looking at him! Loneliness can make our heart fragile and trapped in the snare of the devil! So we should try to stand with brothers and sisters in order to form a strong spiritual fellowship.
Requirements on leaders
1 They should attach great importance to the workers of God.
A leader who really cares about the temple of God should also care about the workers of God. Nehemiah was the example. When Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, he found the Levites worked for nothing and their service stopped.
He scolded the rulers: "Why do you leave the temple of God?" He found that the ruler pended one tenth of dedication and led to the pathetic situation.
2 They should be concerned about the lives of the workers:
In real life, some leaders stress that pastors should contribute themselves to the church. They always make pastors work for nothing in the name of scarce financial resources in the church. They say there are many aspects in the church waiting for money. However, they just refuse to reward the pastors.
Today many churches also emphasize tithing among believers. In the Old Testament, tithing was used to feed pastors and Levites. However, how much have we spent on pastors nowadays?
Leaders must be good at cooperation and teamwork. Otherwise they may feel tired.
Encouragements of believers
Every child of God should know that we are the servants of God instead of angels. We are common people who need food, clothes and shelter. We have to honor our parents and feed our children.
In real life, many believers only care about the dedication of building the church. They paid little attention to pastor's life. They even showed little respect to them.
Some people often take the word of Bible "Come with nothing, contribute nothing" as an excuse for not paying pastors. They don't actually know the meaning "Contribute for nothing". Meanwhile, they have ignored such teaching in the Bible: " You should have no gold or silver because you have to feed the workers".
When a pastor died, we often heard that she was picked by God. In fact, maybe she was just sent to heaven by the church!
Translated By: Emma Ma