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
Several years ago, I heard the story of the twelve-year-old boy who apparently could not 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 have not said a word for twelve years, 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 concerning their pastors. If everything is okay, nothing is said, but let something go wrong, and you hear them. 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 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 that is constructive or destructive when things are not. In saying this, I do not mean to imply that church members are cold and calloused but often are unaware of the needs of the man behind the sacred desk who carries the mantel of the 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, the 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 always smiles straight because he has a sense of humor that keeps him serious at work. He makes fifteen calls daily to church members, spends all his time evangelizing the unchurched, and is never out of the office.”
Some hold a myth regarding the pastor’s labors, 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 to), 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 lazy pastor, but I want to sing the praise of those individuals who devote their lives and expend their energies tirelessly for the service of God. They deserve our affirmation even when nothing is out of the ordinary and everything 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!