Pastoral Grit

Rarely do I experience the kind of connection and affinity with an author as I did with Craig Brian Larson in his book, Pastoral Grit: The Strength to Stand and Stay. It frequently felt as if he had been reading my mail (or my prayer journal) as I read.

The author's honesty, vulnerability, and sensitivity make Pastoral Grit especially powerful and effective, whether the reader is struggling or triumphing. He doesn't make pronouncements from on high, but shares his discouragements, defeats, insights, and victories as a fellow-traveler and real-life struggler. He is refreshingly honest about his own sins and self-doubts. And he brings practical hope and help to anyone in active ministry who sometimes feels like throwing in the towel.

Some of the lines I marked for further reflection:
Sometimes the way I work for the Lord better resembles the models found in business and motivational literature than the ones in the Bible. At such times I lose the spirituality of ministry....I trust in the Lord more to accomplish my dreams than to fulfill his purposes. I "strive in the flesh" rather than rest in God (58-59).

What most leads to my depleted reserves are excessive goals, or what some theologians call "inordinate desires" (59).

A person can become just as greedy for time and accomplishment as for money (64).

I shouldn't be surprised when sheep act like sheep (74).

My faith, like my character, is an end in itself, not merely a means by which God gives me what I ask. Christ is the author and perfecter of my faith. I expect, then, that God will allow circumstances that demand faith, hence circumstances that definition defy my reasoning and expectations, that force me to trust in spite of everything. Because faith is the goal, I should expect God to defy my expectations (117).
Though I read this book at a time of relative health and vitality in my ministry, it was nonetheless a strong encouragement. I recommend it highly.

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