John 10:4 When He (the Good Shepherd) has brought out all His own, He goes on ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice.
Like most pastors, I’m often jokingly told that our jobs are easy because we only work one day a week. Usually, I laugh along with the person, who thinks this is exceedingly funny, but within my heart, I’m actually weeping for myself and other pastors. What most folks never realize is that we’re always working, always praying, always thinking about the church and the people, even when we’re supposed to be resting, vacationing, or having a day off. If people really want to tell the joke as pastors truly experience it, it should be told this way: Pastors are God’s biggest fools – they don’t even get time off for good behavior.
Ministry is the one occupation on Earth that has one unique and important part of its function – ministry has eternal consequences. The butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker only deal with the here and now. Teachers, counselors, and therapists deal with life issues and personal choices. Business people, political leaders, and CEOs work with expanding their markets and lifetime events. Only ministry deals with the eternal side of things; only ministry outlasts them all.
My main role, like that of many pastors, is to guide folks toward Christ, so that in the midst of all of society’s noise, they can still hear His Voice calling them. It’s not a popular responsibility, which is why less folks are becoming pastors these days. It’s not something that you can equate with anything else either, because none of the other wonderful professions, vocations, or careers involve eternity.
Perhaps next time, when you’re with a pastor and feel the urge to tell the old one-day-a-week joke, set it aside; instead let her or him know how much you are blessed by that one day in the week, when the pastor tries to help you get closer to Christ, so that one glorious day you can experience the joy, peace, and love that is everlasting.
Question for personal reflection
How often do I think about the eternal side of my life? Am I willing to let my pastor help me to seriously contemplate eternity?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us all to listen for Your voice, so that we may positively respond to Your calling. Enable us to embrace Your words, so that we can actually attach ourselves to Your Way, Truth, and Life. Bless all who seek to lead us to You. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is currently the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to ask questions, make comments, or reply to this message, please send him an email to Traqair@aol.com.
Today’s image is one of John’s drawings for the church kids, based on Psalm 23. If you would like to view a larger version, please click on this link: Shepherd.