What a cacophony of pressures is the pastor’s life! What a job exposed to the conflicting expectations of people whose whims and moods change! What a vocation where many of the best-selling authors write books about “leadership” and volunteer management as though they were writing a manual for an international conglomerate of toothpaste makers, and simultaneously the prophets warn against such crass reductionism of the pastoral task.
The moment a pastor feels at ease with the prophet’s words, the pressures of week to week volunteer management and “leadership” raise their heads. It’s like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole against Cerberus.
I want to pastor souls and see humans made in God’s image grow in that image. I want to see them find healing – deep, real healing like they cannot get anywhere else but in Christ. I want to disciple and pray for people. I am unwaveringly committed to expositing Scripture every change I get while the “bigger” church across the way has chosen to use Star Wars for their Advent series. Seriously. I want to apply my vocation in the ways I believe Scripture lays it out for shepherds of souls, but some of those souls are rarely around. And when I come into contact with them, many are far too happy for a glancing conversation and empty promises.
Even when I feel like I know what a pastor is supposed to do, don’t I need others to know as well so we can get along doing God’s work together? Should I be concerned about that? If they don’t know, is that my fault?
I grow more and more convinced of the necessity of the Church’s role in our world as the bearer of the knowledge of God – both in what we talk about when we are together and how we live our lives. But very few seem similarly convinced. And I mean pastors and churches. Should I be concerned about that? Is it even my job to be concerned about that?
I will wake up striving to be at ease in the sovereign grace of God instead of trying to make myself at ease with my ability to manipulate people, programs, or budgets. I will pray more. I am more and more thankful for faithfulness and endurance when I see it. I am more and more thankful all the time for God’s great gifts of family and friends.
This Advent I will meditate on what it means to wait on and work for an all-good, all-benevolent, and all-powerful promise fulfiller.
I want to be like the tree planted by the streams of living water whose leaves never wither and who bears his fruit in his season.