What is the job of the pastor? I get that asked of me from time to time. About 14 years ago when I was doing an internship, I had a high school student tell me they wanted to go into the ministry. I asked them why. Maybe it was a calling from God. Maybe it was wanting to help people. Maybe it was wanting to be of service to God. Their answer: “You only work one day a week.” Yup. And you are encouraged to take a nap during that day as well.
A little over a year ago I posted a blog called Just One Job. It was in response to a blog post by the Young Adult Leadership Task Force (YALT) which is a task force put together by the Christian Reformed Church (CRC). YALT had put out a blog in July 2014 of the Top 40 under 40 rising leaders of the CRC and the Reformed Church in America (RCA).
My response: What in the world have I been doing with my life and ministry?!? I haven’t accomplished anything, right? I felt like a failure in ministry for not doing huge things for God’s kingdom let alone the CRC or even the local church. Let alone the church I’m at right now.
What do I have to show for myself after all these years of ministry?
But then I realized that in the ministry, I have just one job–be faithful in taking care of and feeding Jesus’ sheep.
In Christianeese, sheep and flock are in reference to followers of Jesus because he is the Great Shepherd. He leads us and guides us. And he calls people to help him shepherd his flock, to tend to and feed his sheep.
And that’s the job of the pastor.
Take care of and feed Jesus’ sheep.
I had a number of pastors thank me for the post. Many sated that they too struggled with the same feeling. They tanked me for helping them remember that they have just one job.
Over the last year or so I’ve thought about following up on that post.
As a pastor, life can be a joy. There are times where I wake up in the morning and think to myself “I can’t believe I actually get paid for this.” I get to see people grow in their faith. I get to see people get those “ah-ha” moments as they learn and grow. I get to be invited into the most deepest personal aspects of people’s lives. I’m there when they rejoice with new life and I’m there when they grieve the passing of a loved one. What a great honor to live such a life.
There are other times though that I wake up and say to myself “Thank goodness I actually get paid for this.” I deal with the politics of people. I mutter to myself “Ministry would be so much easier if it wasn’t for all the sinners.” I get frustrated when months of diplomacy falls apart and people in the church don’t act like it. I feel flushed down the drain when I’ve just poured out my heart in a message and someone makes a b-line to me after the service to tell me how my third illustration in my second point really wasn’t good at all. *face palm*
And then I think: Would life had been better if I was but a simple fish monger? (sorry, Shakespeare reference). Would life be better if I had ignored the call? Would life had been easier if I had just went to be an English teacher like I went to college to be in the first place. What would life be like–no night time meetings every week, no picking and prodding at the little things I do (and don’t) do.
But then I remember that I have been called. I’ve been called to just one job–take care of and feed Jesus’ sheep. One job. And to be faithful at that even when the sheep are unruly, even when things are tough, in brightest day and darkest night (okay, I stole that from Green Lantern), we are to be faithful.
It’s not about me. It’s not about us. it’s about Him.
Just one job.
Ministry itself is a beautiful thing if you let it be. It can be a joy sucker if you let it be. As a pastor, I’ve been given just one job. And I strive to do it to the best of my ability, with God’s helping and leading. I choose to let it be beautiful.
I may not have tamed mighty beasts. I may not have created huge programs. I may not have brought thousands to Christ with just one sermon. I’m in the midst of the middle of the mess and I know that in the end Jesus will have found me faithful.