Tragdy in the Ministry

February 5, 2013

Tragedy in The Ministry

            I love pastors.  I have been one for the better part of my life.  Many know me as a missionary, but most of my time has been spent in starting and pastoring churches in Argentina.  Being a pastor is one of the highest callings of God.  Some of my best friends have been and still are pastors.

I want you to have a long and fruitful ministry.  May one of your goals be that, at the end, you can say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” My heart is broken every time I hear of a pastor who met with tragedy in the course of his ministry.  I want to warn you of tragedy on the horizon and tell you how to avoid meeting with it.

This article deals with the tragedy that takes place when a pastor falls into the sin of adultery.  Not only is it a tragedy for the pastor; it is equally a tragedy for his family and the church he pastors.  There are repercussions that are far reaching.  It brings disgrace on the name of our precious Lord.

First of all, we need to be agreed that adultery is sin.  In the Ten Commandments, it follows right after homicide.  “Thou shalt not kill.   Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:13-14).  It is hurtful and shameful, no matter who the guilty people are.  When the guilty one is a servant of the most high God, the shame and disgrace is compounded.

We are all vulnerable to Satan’s temptations, but if we fall, we are without excuse.  I Corinthians 10:13 says, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” Just because you are in the ministry doesn’t mean you can’t be tempted.  You too need to take heed to Mark 14:38. “Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”

There are some things we can and should do to keep ourselves strong enough to resist temptation.  “A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength” (Proverbs 24:5).

  • Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.”  For many reasons it’s extremely important that we maintain a close relationship with God.   We are weak, but God is our strength.  Psalm 61:3 says, “For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.” Don’t neglect to spend time daily reading God’s word and in prayer.


  • Mark 12:30 says, “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.”  We need to guard our minds.  Be careful what you read.  Trashy novels can weaken your resistance.  The same needs to be said about many DVD’s and late night television programs.  Some men are tempted to fantasize.  In your mind, it’s possible to imagine and even experience some of the pleasure of an extra-marital affair.  No one knows what you are thinking.  If you make it a practice to fantasize, it will lower your resistance to sexual lust.  If you are struggling with the temptation to fantasize, you need to pray the prayer of David in Psalm 19:12.  “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”


  • Guard your eyes.  Job said he made a covenant with his eyes. “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?”  Because of the way some women dress in our day, we need a special measure of God’s power to guard our eyes.  I highly respect pastors who insist that their wife and daughters dress modestly.  If they do, they should also teach and preach in the church that women and girls do likewise.


  • Proverbs 5:15-20 says, “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.  Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.

Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.  Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.   And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?”  It is extremely important that you maintain a close, loving, personal relationship with your wife.  Wives have an obligation to satisfy the sexual desires of their husbands.  Most often they will, if their husbands give them the attention they should.  You need to spend time with your wife.  Show her affection.  Tell her that you love her.  She is capable of giving you greater sexual satisfaction than any lewd woman can.  It will be without the feeling of guilt.

Even if your wife disappoints you or isn’t always available, that is never an excuse for adultery.  Excuses I have heard men give for falling into adultery are never justifiable.  Ephesians 5:3 says, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.”

Adultery is the surest way to devastate your ministry, but it’s not the only way.  The ministry of some pastors ends in tragedy because they went off into false doctrine.  Others were snared by materialism or financial irresponsibility.  Each of these snares is a separate subject that would merit another article to give prudence in avoiding them.

Most often sin begins in the heart and mind.  It’s what can be called “secret sin.”  It starts by veering off course just a tiny bit.  Pilots know that if they veer off course just one degree and stay there, they will not arrive at their desired destination.  If, after reading this article, you realize that you have gotten off course, I beg you to make the necessary correction.  It may be that no one is aware of it.  If so, you don’t need to confess it to anyone but God.  If you feel God is telling you that you should confess it to your wife, then don’t hesitate to do so.  Staying off course can lead to disaster in your ministry.  It’s an awful tragedy.  Don’t let it happen to you.  Pray that God will enable you to continually meet the qualifications laid down in I Timothy 3:1-7.  “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.”


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