The life and work of the pastor is a mystery to many.
“What do you do with yourself all day?” “Do you mean that the church pays you? That’s your job?” Those are just a handful of the questions I have been asked through the years. Even my own children have been in on the act. One son, as we rode to church together one Wednesday evening (we did not do that often, because I usually go early), said to me, “Dad, it’s almost like you have a real job today.”
I wanted to say, “Son, the shoes on your feet are there because of my ‘unreal’ job,” but I let it go.
Still, I know that many do not understand the work of the pastor. I have people enter and leave the hospital without me knowing they were there. “I didn’t want to bother you, because I know you are so busy,” was the reason. So at one extreme, there are those who think I nap all day, and others who think I am too busy to visit them in their time of need.
Maybe you have not thought about it, but can I say a word to you on behalf of pastors everywhere? We all have enough work to keep us busy. Sermons and Bible studies do not write themselves. We visit hospitals, do counseling of various kinds, make calls and visits to prospective members, and seek to minister to all in times of need. Yes, you can say that we all have enough to do. In fact, I deeply admire those bi-vocational pastors who have “real jobs,” and yet do the work that I do in their churches. I wonder how they manage some time.
At the same time, we are never too busy to minister to our church families. If you are facing an illness, a family crisis or any other kind of troubling experience, your pastor wants to know. Even if you do not want us to come around numerous times, we want to pray for you. We long to offer help in any way that we can. That’s our calling. That’s our passion.
Every pastor needs help. We want our church members to learn to minister, too. After all, that is how we grow in our faith. And that is how we help more people. But pastors are called to love and to serve. Please allow us to do that.
But also remember this: We pastors need you to pray for us. We are sinful human beings. We are tempted and tried. We want to follow Jesus with whole hearts, but we sometimes fall short of that.
Pray for your pastor today. If you do, you will have a better pastor tomorrow. And that will be a blessing for your whole church.