Pastoral Graces: Reflections of the Care of Souls
Chicago: Moody Publishers, 201. 171pp. ISBN: 9780802405678
Have you ever wondered what pastors may talk about when they get together to fellowship? Pastoral Graces: Reflections of the Care of Souls by Lee Eclov gives you that kind of feel – an inside and behind the scenes look at the world of a pastor, warts and all.
This book is a collection of stories on how God has blessed and worked in the life and ministry of Pastor Lee Eclov. This is not intended to be an instructional book about the work of the pastor or an exposition of Pastoral Epistles or Biblical imperatives, but rather this book is a assortment of frank accounts of the successes and failures of one man in his attempt to serve the Lord in the work of the ministry. But don’t confuse this as a biography, but rather it is more a collection of “war stories” with a point. Eclov uses his experiences as illustrations to the overarching point he is making; namely that God is gracious to pastors in a special way. He focuses on the three major themes of this grace in the book. God gives pastors grace to do the work of the ministry in the Word; secondly God gives pastors grace as they lead the church; and God gives the pastor grace as they deal with the reality of death in the lives of the people God has placed in their care. The book is optimistic in that it focuses on the Grace of God in the work of the pastorate.
I did have a few points of disagreement and concern. The experiences of the author will not relate to all situations, especially pastors of smaller churches. Much of the advice that is given won’t work unless you have a similar church framework. There are ecclesiological and theological issues that are briefly mentioned in passing that I found to be potentially problematic.
I appreciated the overall message of the Pastoral Graces - that pastoring is worth it. It is worth the pain, it is worth the trials, it is worth the labor. Paul told Timothy that if a man desires the work of the pastor, he desires a good thing and I appreciated the fact that there was a positive outlook on the work and that he agrees that it is a good thing to be a pastor. The trials of this life cannot be compared to the glory that awaits those who love His appearing. I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. My thanks to Moody Publishers.