Pastor’s Only Work ONE Day, Right?
I wrote this a few weeks ago but shelved it because I didn’t want the words or tone to be misinterpreted. Just sitting down and hammering-it-out was therapeutic enough.
Why post it now?
October is “Pastor Appreciation Month” so I want to dedicate this blog post to ALL pastors, whether full-time or bi-vocational.
You matter. Everything you do matters. Thank you. Thank you for being a co-laborer. Thank you for leading your church and thus helping lead The Church. Thank you for building The Kingdom and advancing the cause of Christ. Thank you for serving and loving people. You do much more than most people realize or even recognize, but God knows. And I know that’s all that matters to you.
But today, may you be honored. Today, may you be celebrated.
I’ve been pastoring the same church for over sixteen years, a church that my wife and I planted when we were young and didn’t know what we were doing. For the record, we still don’t know what we’re doing but we have learned a lot, even if mostly what not to do. Today, as the rain falls from the sky, I am weighted down by weariness. I’m not really tired. I’m not even depressed. I’m just weary. If you’re a pastor, then you’ve been there, too. Some of you are there right now.
Anyone who believes pastoring is an easy job that consists of only working ONE day a week should be punched in the face. “Hey, that’s not very pastor-like!” you may have just thought out loud. Uh, maybe, but now you know that pastors are people, too. Yes, we have feelings. Yes, we make mistakes. There aren’t many jobs that place you and your family under the microscope with unrealistic expectations only to be watched, scrutinized, talked about, ridiculed, and judged. I’m not complaining so please don’t get me wrong or misunderstand me. These kind of moments pale in comparison to watching people encounter Jesus and witnessing the life-change that follows. The good moments by far outweigh the bad. The rewards by far outweigh the challenges.
It’s just that some days I get weary…but this is exactly what I signed up for and I absolutely love what I do. If you’re a pastor, I know you do, too. So, what exactly do pastors do? Here’s a little taste, and I must say it’s pretty amazing considering my fellow pastors and I make it happen in one day. #kidding #sarcasm
Counseling that requires me to get counseling.
Hospital visit because of church softball.
Apology letter to church played against in softball.
Blessing new houses.
Meetings just to call it a meeting meetings.
Emails correcting my doctrine.
Emails correcting my theology.
Emails correcting my eschatology.
Emails telling me what I’m doing wrong.
Emails that point out what I need to fix without offering solutions.
“Preachers and churches just want my money” and “tithing ain’t in the New Testament” rants.
Cornered conversations about what businesses I need to boycott and why Jesus is a Republican!
“I’m not getting fed spiritually” conversations.
“That’s not how we did it at my last church!” tirades.
“Can you come to my kid’s game?” expectations.
“So and so just needs someone to talk to” moments.
“Someone gave me your phone number so can you text me back ASAP?” text messages.
Facebook messages that reveal I have “read” the message so the second message is, “I know you saw my message. Why haven’t you responded yet?”
Facebook messages with attached links asking for my feedback and position on everything from extraterrestrial life on other planets to transgendered dinosaurs that survived The Flood. Okay, not really that, but close.
Being approached with, “Can you give me just five minutes?” that turn into an hour and forty-five minutes.
“Can you read this book so we can get together and discuss?” demands.
Phone calls that require only listening that turn into me pretending I’m listening while daydreaming about slamming my head in a car door.
I have missed my own kid’s games, dance classes, and extra-curricular activities. I have missed family functions and friend’s birthday gatherings. I have been late for dates with my wife and have gotten home after she went to bed because she fell asleep waiting on me to watch a movie with her. There have been times I have neglected her, my kids, family, and friends. I am working at becoming a better husband, father, son, brother, friend, leader, pastor, and person.
So, the next time you’re upset because I didn’t respond to your email, text, phone call, or Facebook message in the appropriate amount of time…or maybe you’re wondering why I haven’t “followed you back” yet on Instagram or Twitter…or the next time you’re irritated because I didn’t show up for your colonoscopy, it might just be that my family needs me more.
I love all of the above. If I didn’t, I would have quit a long time ago and auditioned for Last Comic Standing. This is the most fulfilling and rewarding job I have ever participated in and I cannot imagine doing anything else. I have witnessed firsthand the miraculous hand of God in homes, bodies, marriages, our church, and in my own life.
Today I am weary. But when I’m weary, He is strong. Thank you, Jesus, for calling me to pastor.
I get to do this.