Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3, 5 – “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:
3 … A time to break down, And a time to build up; …5 …A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;”
1 Thessalonians 5:11 – “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” NKJV
A number of years ago I heard the story of the twelve-year old boy who appeared to be unable to talk. After his mother served him oatmeal three days in a row he said, “Yuck, I hate oatmeal.” His mother became hysterical and ran to him shouting, “You can talk! You can talk! For twelve years you have not said a word and today you spoke. Why have you never spoken before?” He looked at her and said, “Up until now, everything’s been okay.”
Sadly, that is how we do things too often. It is especially true in many churches with regard to their pastors as long as everything is okay nothing is said but let something go wrong and you hear the booing and complaining. I know some pastors who are incredibly effective in their efforts for the local body and the kingdom of God but feel like abject failures. One very wise minister explained it this way: “We are victims of a system that is too high in expectations and too low in rewards.”
Some people assume that the minister’s self-image is indestructible. They expect the man of God to be filled with energy and fresh ideas but fail to give affirmation which is the emotional fuel we all need. This is true with our children, spouses, employees, etc. Everyone needs to receive personal affirmation from time to time when things are good not just criticism constructive or destructive when things are not. In saying this I do not mean to imply that church members are cold and calloused but rather often unaware of the needs of the man behind the sacred desk who carries the mantel of pastor.
I do not know any Omnicompetent Pastors but I know many flawed vessels who ascribe to that high calling and devote their lives to service. I read a description of “The Perfect Pastor” and I honestly do not know who originally wrote it but it goes like this:
“What is the perfect pastor? He is 26 years old and has been preaching for 30 years. He is tall, short, thin, heavyset, handsome and homely; he has one brown eye and one blue; hair parted in the middle, left side dark and straight and the right side brown and wavy. He has a burning desire to work with teenagers and spends all his time with older folks. He smiles all the time with a straight face because he has a sense of humor that keeps him seriously at his work. He makes 15 calls a day to church members, spends all his time evangelizing the unchurched and is never out of the office.”
There are myths in the minds of some regarding the labors of the pastor and as I had a person say to me once, “It must be nice to have a job where you only work one day per week.” He had no idea what my week consisted of and how many hours I spent praying, preparing, visiting, planning, meeting, etc. He saw me once per week (that’s all he came) and to him that was the sum total of what I did.
I have a friend who heard similar statements and he invited the individual to spend the day with him. On that particular occasion there were five emergencies that the pastor was called to and then the regular schedule of the day to be addressed so when they concluded their day at 10:30 PM that evening the man was stunned. He said, “I had no idea!” I make no defense of a pastor who is lazy but I want to sing the praise of those individuals who devote their lives, expend their energies tirelessly for the service of God. They deserve our affirmation even when nothing is out of the ordinary and all is going well. Let them hear you in good times not just in times of difficulty. Translate that to your families and work as well.
God bless you as you go through this day!