Given to me as a gift from a friend, this volume by Eugene Peterson is a book every pastor needs to read. Don’t overlook biography or memoirs as a source of great insight into the ministry, and such is the case here. The beauty of this book is what parts of his life he chronicled. Much is left out as only those events that in some way shaped him as a pastor are told. The wisdom comes from those events that he saw as shaping him. Even better, is the wisdom he distills for us from those events!
He is candid throughout. Not as a dose of false humility, but sincerely enough that I actually imagine I could name his real faults. He is a writer too. Dullness never found its way into these pages. I must warn you, however, that he cuts against the grain. He slams what he calls the American consumerism that has infected and well nigh destroyed our churches at every point possible. The value, again, is that he unearths it in us.
He exposes that we don’t know how to have “holy rest”. We don’t know how to be silent so that we might hear the Lord. He learned to avoid: “Inappropriate, anxiety-driven, fear-driven work (that) would only interfere with and distract from what God was already doing.”
He confesses that the unlearning is slow and hard, but you find yourself wanting to begin the journey as you read these pages. He had to learn to loosen his grip so that others can exercise the gifts God had given them. Ministry became more effective and more extensive too.
I could not follow Mr. Peterson at every point. He certainly found inspiration in a few places I never could. Still, the book is a jewel. I could tell you more, but you should mine this book’s treasures for yourself!
Find all articles in the series here.