Being a Minister In the Midst of Ministry
Yesterday was a busy day. I began preparing for Sunday’s sermon, I planned out the liturgy for Sunday’s worship, I was consulted about a video being made for our church’s website, I strategized with our other pastors, I looked at next year’s budget to consider potential subtractions and additions, I e-mailed with elders and deacons, I tweeted with the public, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot of other things.
But what’s interesting is that my day was filled with “ministry” activities, and I didn’t feel much like a minister. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t believe the day was wasted in any way, and I know these activities are very significant to the life of our congregation. The administration, vision, strategy, and other “big picture” stuff is what I feel called and equipped to do at TCPC.
But I did came home and tell my wife that in all the business I felt anxious and unproductive. Then I remembered I was scheduled to do a pastoral visit with an elderly member of our congregation who is dying of cancer.
I wish I could say that my heart was glad and honored for the opportunity, but the opposite was true. I murmured about the inconvenience, scarfed down a dinner, and left with a malcontent attitude. Then I spent a half hour with a dying saint and found my heart strangely warmed. I held her hand, kissed her forehead, sang her favorite hymns, read 1 Corinthians 15, prayed, and looked into her dying eyes as a minister of Jesus to reassured her once again that the gospel is true. I pray the time was a blessing to her, but I know it was a blessing to me. I left there with my joy renewed and remembering again why I am in love my calling. After a day filled with the duties of the modern pastor, I finally felt like a pastor.
A wise mentor of mine once told me, “I fear you younger pastors, with all your savvy and strategies, can forget that a pastor is someone who sits at the bedside of the dying, opens a Bible, and prays.”
Yesterday I experienced his wisdom first-hand. I spent a day busying myself with activities that will impact the masses and better an institution, and that is important work that God has certainly called me to do. But ironically it wasn’t until I sat down with one, individual, suffering soul, to administer the tender mercy of Jesus, that I felt fulfilled in my calling.
Thank you, Lord, for the reminder.