Gospel Amnesia in Pastoral Ministry

Following up on my last post highlighting temptations common to pastoral ministry, today I want to share from a Gospel Coalition Blog post by Paul Tripp, in which he draws out four excellent “treasure principles” from Matthew 6:

  1. Everyone lives for some kind of treasure.
  2. The thing that’s your treasure will control your heart.
  3. What controls your heart will control your behavior.
  4. Your functional treasures are always attached to the kingdom of self or the kingdom of God.

I don’t know if I would have really understood this before struggling for a few years as a pastor of a small church? But it certainly hits home now. The following paragraph, quoted from Tripp, particularly speaks to me, because I have a tendency to forget the Gospel. I hope God uses it to speak to you too, to keep on reminding you of the Gospel.

Could it be that many of the stresses of ministry are the result of us seeking to get things out of ministry that it will never deliver? Could it be that we’re asking ministry to do for us what only the Messiah can do? Could it be that in our ministries we’re seeking horizontally what we’ve already been given in Christ? Could it be that this kingdom conflict is propelled and empowered by functional, personal gospel amnesia? When I forget what I‘ve been given in Christ, I will tend to seek those things out of the situations, locations, and relationships of my ministry. Pastor, in what ways are you tempted to seek from your ministry what you’ve already been given in Christ? [bold mine]

Read the rest of the original blog post by Paul Tripp: Ministry: Whose Kingdom? – The Gospel Coalition Blog