Certain good men appeal to me who are distinguished by enormous vehemence and zeal, and a conspicuous absence of brains; brethren who would talk for ever and ever upon nothing – who would stamp and thump the Bible, and get nothing out of it all; earnest, awfully earnest, mountains in labor of the most painful kind; but nothing comes of it all … whose capacity is most narrow and their conceit most broad … I conceive that these brethren will do quite as well without education as with it, and therefore I have usually declined their application.Spurgeon goes on in this lecture to touch upon physical features that might preclude a denial, though it would pain him to do so. Then he adds:
I have met ten, twenty, a hundred brethren, who have pleaded that they were sure, quite sure that they were called to the ministry – they were certain of it, because they had failed in everything else.He declined these men, looking instead for:
A really valuable minister would have excelled at anything. There is scarcely anything impossible to a man who can keep a congregation together for years and be the means of edifying them for hundreds of consecutive Sabbaths.I know October is Pastor Appreciation month, but we need to keep our pastors in prayer throughout the year. Theirs is an often thankless, but oh, so very necessary job with tremendous responsibilities. Paul’s letters teach us so much about what to expect, yet the qualifications are short:
This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:1-7 KJV)
As Paul set a task for Titus:
For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. (Titus 1:5-9 KJV)
Bottom line to me is “sound doctrine.” A pastor can display all of the qualifications, but his congregation should be able to look to scripture and confirm that it is with sound doctrine that he exhorts and convinces those who disagree and deny. Give thanks for such a man, and pray God will use him to the best of his abilities. It is to our advantage.