[This is Day 26 of #Booktober! Stay tuned for more recommendations!]
What It Is: An encouraging reminder to pastors and those in full-time ministry that they are first and foremost disciples and sheep themselves, and that their true hope of peace, security, and fulfillment is found in Jesus’ completed work, not their many efforts and accomplishments in ministry.
Why You Should Read It (And/Or Give it Away): This book is a balm to the wounds and a cup of cool water to the dry throat of pastors and elders who are laboring in ministry and growing weary and burnt out. Wilson writes with such compassion toward that group because he was there himself–exhausted and heartsick from years of doing, doing, doing. When he finally stopped and threw himself desparately into the arms of grace, he was reminded that his security and hope is found in what Jesus has accomplished on his behalf, not on his performance or perfection. Even if we pastors know this to be true mentally or abstractly, it’s a different thing for us to believe it from the heart. Wilson reminds us that we serve best when we serve from a place of full reliance on God’s grace. If you’re a pastor, read this book. If you know a pastor, get them this book. There are still a few more days in “Pastor Appreciation Month.” Grab a copy or two for the shepherds who serve and love you and your family.
When I started coming up with names for this list, yours was one of the first few I wrote down. Your writing has been a continual blessing to me over the last several years. I’ve not only enjoyed your books myself, but have given them away regularly to bless others. Your words have been useful to me for Sunday School lesson writing, for sermon prep, and most often for daily devotional reading as I seek to be a better disciple of Jesus.
I’ve also had the blessing to sit under your teaching at a few different conferences. There, you shared your heart in a way that was courageous and honest. Rather than put on a front or try to carry off a persona of strength and accomplishment, you’ve sought to glory in your weaknesses. The deep and genuine humility I have seen in you is refreshing in a world of platform-building and name recognition. Please, please don’t ever lose that.
Every interaction I’ve had with you has left me encouraged and strengthened. I have been struck by your sincerity and kindness. I have described you more than once as “a legitimately good dude.” Thanks for being that.
As you have detailed in books and talks over the years, God has taken you on a pretty rigorous and challenging path. In recent months and years, that seems to have continued. I want you to know that I pray for you when you come to mind, that God would strengthen your heart, protect you from the Enemy, and remind you of His mercy.
In recent weeks, it seems like you’re taking a lot more flak than usual online. And truth be told, there are places in the current cultural conversation where you and I would probably disagree on how to address certain issues or which teachers or speakers to take seriously. My hope and expectation is that, should we have the chance to interact again, we will continue to do so with gentleness and respect.
Thank you for your ministry, and all the ways it has blessed and challenged me. I pray for the peace and grace of God over you, sir. God bless you.