THEM: As a pastor, what would you do differently if you knew it couldn’t fail?
ME: Get a new job.
This really isn’t a joke.
The vast majority of Sundays will find me contemplating getting another job.
It’s not that I hate being a pastor; I actually love it. But, good Lord, it does break a guy’s heart.
I spend all week gearing up, studying, planning, practicing, and hyping myself to preach great messages. I do my best. I’m not claiming to be the best sermon maker or preacher ever, but I do my part to make it as good as possible. I get up and pour out my heart. I pray for people, I pray specifically for passages of Scripture that address issues certain people deal with. Maybe this will be the sermon where they “get it.”
It never is. You work with people for years, only to see them give up, walk away and tell others what a loser you are as a pastor. People get mad, they find fault, they take advantage and take you for granted. Every week.
Sure, there’s a win sprinkled in there every other month or so, a highlight, a glimmer that light may have dawned on someone. But then weeks go by and the glimmer fades and everyone is right back where they were before, except now I’m older and more tired.
Cynicism is a killer. This weekly pattern feeds cynicism. Oh the cynicism. I doubt every word that comes out of every mouth. I don’t want to; I just fail to see how I could honestly believe what anyone says to me anymore.
I’ve seen so many people claim to get saved and really take it seriously and this is the time that will change it all. Only to see them right back at their old struggles and then they skip church more and more and then they are gone.
There is no down time as a pastor. I’m not the world’s busiest pastor, don’t get me wrong. In all honesty, much of the time I’m bored with what my church requires of me. Primarily because hardly anyone cares what I do. I am not the most needed guy in most people’s lives.
I preached a great sermon this past Sunday, one of those I prayed all week it would change lives. The first guy who talked to me talked about the game on that afternoon. The next guy talked to me about golf. Several other guys were talking about something and I heard one of them say, “Well, that guy up there is the one you need to talk to.”
Oooo, this could be it! Someone finally has a question! Someone has directed a questioner to me and assured them I would be the guy to go to with a question!
The guy came up to where I and the golf guy were talking. We paused and looked at him. He said to the golf guy, “Hey, I hear you know everything there is to know about plumbing, tell me, what sort of pipe should I use for. . . .”
There is a mechanic in our church. Every week there are people asking him questions about what’s wrong with their car and how to fix it. There’s a nurse practitioner that everyone asks questions about meds and sicknesses. There’s an HVAC specialist that everyone has questions for about their air conditioner. There’s a computer whiz in our church who is constantly hounded with computer questions about operating systems, and security updates, and how to get certain software and apps to work.
Every other guy in the church is respected and sought after. These guys are busy. People need to know how to fix their cars and heaters. These same people rarely, if ever, ask me a question about anything. People don’t see the need to fix their spiritual lives.
It would be nice at some point to be respected for what I do. It would be nice to be treated as though I had useful information, as though I might be helpful to someone in their life in some way. Imagine how cool that would be?
So I go home and consider going to the community college to brush up on some trade so then maybe someone would seek out my assistance and knowledge. I fail to see how it would happen otherwise. Surely any other job would be more useful than this one.
Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.