A pastor friend told my husband and me that he’s considering leaving the ministry because he feels as if his efforts haven’t resulted in heart change for any of his congregants—that their priorities remained out of step with God’s. After my husband and I prayed for him, he told us that we had encouraged him. Even so, I’m not confident that he’ll remain in fulltime pastoral ministry.

This pastor’s anger and lament over the spiritual state of some believers in Jesus reminded me of Moses’ anger and discouragement with the Israelites. When Moses descended Mount Sinai holding the two stone tablets with the Ten Commandments engraved on them, he saw the Israelites worshiping the golden calf. In his anger, he smashed the tablets at the foot of the mountain (Exodus 32:19). He then approached his brother Aaron and demanded to know how such idolatry came about. Aaron wouldn’t take even part of the blame, saying, “You yourself know how evil these people are” (Exodus 32:22).

We complain about those we consider to be inept and ungodly leaders in the church. And of course, there are some leaders we should approach with genuine questions or concerns. Matthew 18:15-20 calls us to go to those with whom we have issues. Sometimes, however, we can be the source of the problem—people who fill our leaders with grief. We discourage them with our complaints, critical spirits, and mean-spiritedness.

Today, as the Holy Spirit guides us, may we try to encourage our pastors and other church leaders—letting them know that their work is of great value: “Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Esther 3:1-15