I have just returned from the biennial Together for the Gospel Conference. It was edifying and refreshing just to sing praise and sit under fine preaching, particularly John Piper on imputation as the heart of the gospel, Lig Duncan who has the singular ability to edify us out of the patristics, and C.J. Mahaney on the work of the ordinary pastor.
The last is significant. As I have confessed before, my constant temptation is to compare my work with others. I often feel like I labor as a pygmy in the land of giants in Jackson, and a man without a country in the PCA. These are not easy things for prideful, foolish, and melancholy flesh to endure. Yet, CJ, in his unique blend of poignancy, humor, and hard-hitting application, told me just what I needed to hear --both in way of correction and encouragement. May I own what he had to say.
Why? Because life in the church (in its local, and connectional aspects) is tough, wherever you are. There are burdens to be borne. The alluring temptation is to think that the titans have no struggles or shortcomings. But, I've worked for a few titans, and struggle they do and shortcomings they have! They are human, too. And they must bleed for their churches, too.
We must believe the church is glorious, because God tells us that it is. Occasionally, we glimpse that glory. We glimpse it when someone is kind to us, when someone prays with us, or speaks in an edifying way to us. But the church is not perfected yet. It stumbles about blindly in the darkness a lot, getting cut and torn and bruised. It is silly in its pridefulness. It is childish in its wants and needs.
Yet, Jesus loves it. And we should too.