I assume, when you speak of a “servant of the Lord,” you are referring to those who are actively serving in a local church, such as an elder (i.e. one who bears oversight over God’s flock…see Acts 20:18, 28). I can’t think of one example from Scripture where a public servant of the Lord committed suicide, nor have I ever known one who took his own life, but it is surely possible that some have ended their own life for various reasons.

Before we answer your question, we need to say emphatically that taking one’s life is a SIN. One of the Ten Commandments teaches us, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13) and this would surely include “taking your own life.” God alone has the right to take one’s life. In Ecclesiastes chapter 12:6 we read, “Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well.” These metaphors all speak of the breakdown of the body and DEATH, yet until the day our death occurs, we are to “remember our Creator,” the One who gave us life and the one who will take it. When He does take our life (by sickness, an accident, old age, etc.) the passage goes on to say, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” So, make no mistake about it, suicide is a very serious sin.

You are right in saying that a public servant of the Lord is “supposed to be our role model and inspiration in life, especially during hard times,” and thus if one commits suicide it will have a devastating effect on those around him. It could cause some to question God’s Word and their own faith. It could cause some to doubt if the public servant has lost his salvation. Scripture is clear that if one has trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ, he has eternal life and he cannot lose his salvation. Jesus said in John 10:27-28, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH.” Notice, Jesus did NOT say, “They shall never perish UNLESS THEY COMMIT SUICIDE.” If one receives the free gift of eternal life, it can never be lost. In Romans 8:38-39 the Apostle Paul said, “For I am persuaded that neither DEATH nor life, nor angels noir principalities nor power, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” This is crystal-clear, is it not? Nothing, even DEATH (by our own hand), can separate the true believer from the love of God.

You ask, “What could cause them to do that?” Perhaps the biggest cause of suicide is DEPRESSION. We have two examples in Scripture of public servants of Lord being depressed and wanting to die. I’m speaking of Elijah and Jonah. We read this of Elijah in 1st Kings 19:4: “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And HE PRAYED THAT HE MIGHT DIE, and said, ‘It is enough! Now, LORD, TAKE MY LIFE, or I am no better than my fathers.’” In Jonah 4:8 we read, “And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then HE WISHED DEATH FOR HIMSELF, and said, ‘It is better FOR ME TO DIE THAN TO LIVE.” Granted, these servants weren’t considering suicide, but they desired to die, and their depression could have led to taking their own lives had not God intervened by restoring them to Himself and thus to spiritual health.

Besides depression, some could become MENTALLY ILL (with Alzheimer’s or dementia) and suicidal. Others could be undergoing EXCRUCIATING PAIN from an accident or illness and in a desire to be freed from their pain they could consider suicide. Hopefully in such cases they would seek medical help and be given the help they need to prevent them from taking their own life.  (393.3)  (DO)