As a pastor, I have had people ask me, “How are you fed spiritually when you are always trying to feed everyone else?” I will use this post to try and answer this question.
My first reply is simple: the Lord nourishes me day after day as I meditate on Him and His word. He does this most often in my private devotions, and while I am preparing to preach His Word to His Body. My most satisfying morsels of spiritual manna are discovered and consumed while I am seeking God for understanding of a particular text of Scripture, while I pray aloud, and even during times of frustration when I seemingly cannot grasp His Word clearly. I am reminded of the instruction that Paul gave to Pastor Timothy in Paul’s first letter to him. After writing the first three chapters – all filled with instruction, exhortation, encouragement, and warning – Paul gives Timothy, the one who is called to labor for the Gospel, some settling encouragement:
“If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed” (1 Timothy 4:6).
Paul wrote that if Timothy labored to care for the spiritual well-being of his flock, teaching them sound doctrine and carrying the banner of truth, Timothy would both show evidence that he was a faithful minister, AND would be nourished by the very doctrine he was teaching. So, this is primarily how I am “fed” as a minister of Jesus Christ. It is the greatest, most fulfilling, strength-giving enrichment I could ever receive. And I glory in Christ because of this.
There are other ways that God nourishes me. For one, I am always filling my spirit with solid, Gospel-centered, Christ-exalting reading material – whether with books or online articles. One place I often find myself frequenting online is the Gospel Coalition website. The amount of richness offered there to a struggling pastor (or any believer) is amazing. I have so benefited by many of the blog contributors there, and I know you would as well.
But, by far the ministry most responsible for contributing to my spiritual growth is that of Pastor John Piper and Desiring God. If you have sat under my ministry and teaching, you have likely heard me refer to him. Now, I do not want to give the impression that Pastor John is someone that I worship or give undue praise to. Praise belongs to God, and God alone. But, after serving the Lord for about six years in church-focused ministry, I have often struggled to find mentors who would counsel and teach me the “ins and outs” of vocational ministry. To be sure, the Lord has blessed me with certain individuals along the way who I hold very dear to my heart, and I so thank God for them. However, there has been no person who has more impacted my love for Christ than John Piper. You might say that he has served as a channel for me – a telescope to help me see the greatness of God in a more vivid way. Though we have never met, I see him as a spiritual father, and I a son of his in the faith. So, I cannot help but bless God for Pastor John’s long and faithful service to our blessed Lord Jesus. His service has helped me immensly in mine.
So, if you, too, desire to know God in a deeper way, maybe you will find nourishment for your soul through the ministry of my pastor, John Piper, and the ministry of Desiring God. At the bottom of this post, check out their short video that highlights the driving force behind the ministry. Also, visit their website here.
So, there’s the long answer to the question. If you’ve ever wondered how I am fed spiritually, now you know.
Grace and Peace,