Friday, October 14, 2011

The Other Side of Ministry

The moment you think you've got things figured out... you don't. Being in ministry is the greatest joy in my life, and also the greatest pain. I hope I can say that without fear of judgment, but it is my blog, so I'll say what I want.
Most days I love what I do, and I get such joy from small things. I get joy when a student grasps a spiritual truth for the first time, or is excited to bring a friend to church, or when I see a family really trying to raise their children to be people of love.
It's a good thing the good days out number the bad ones, or I might have quit a long time ago. Though when a bad day comes, it seems to come hard. People are unsupportive, you work long hours and nobody seems to notice, someone you thought was a great help and cheerleader stabs you in the back. I wish I could say I'm alone in those struggles, but I really don't believe it. People in ministry get the fall for a lot of things "Why is my kid so messed up if he is coming to YOUR youth group once a week?!" "You can't ask parents to do THAT, you are asking too much." "You taught my kid that! What is wrong with you?" These may be some of the things said or not said... but it's the implications sometimes that hurt the most. The time you don't hear thank you, the time you don't get the space you need, the time you end up doing something that really isn't in your job description, but you love the church enough to sacrifice your own time with your own family... and nobody else showed up because they were busy having "family time".
It would be easy to get bitter. To allow the negative to overshadow the positive, to be downtrodden and say "I will shake the dust off of my sandals because no one is listening." Then.... you have this reminder that it is not them who have called you it's God. God has called you for a reason and for a purpose, and though the moments of joy and peace may seem few and far between right now, trust that the God who called you is faithful to see you through.
So for pastor appreciation month I want you to know, that even if no one in your congregation or ministry notices what you do... God does. If no one gives you a bonus, even though you don't know how to make ends meet... God sees your needs. If no one says thank you... one day God will say well done good and faithful servant. To quote an old hymn "It will be worth it all when we see Jesus"... Keep the Hope.

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