I was relaxing on my back porch this evening, praying for my family and just reflecting. I couldn’t help but feel grateful for my calling in life. I love being a pastor, especially of this particular flock. Pastoring is often described as a difficult calling, but I wouldn’t primarily characterize pastoring as a difficult calling.
Yes, it’s difficult at times. Since being in this “lead” type role for the past three years, I’ve gained that much more respect for pastors that have impacted me in the past: Greg Ammonds, my pastor growing up; Carroll Marr, my pastor in college; and especially Todd Gray, our Lead Pastor when I was on staff at Tabernacle in Ennis.
There is something about being an under-shepherd that is often overwhelming. Hebrews 13:17a reveals some of the weight of pastoring: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.” Sometimes I like the first part of that verse more than the last– HA! But seriously, what a sobering thought, that I will have to give an account.
Yes, pastoring is heavy. I want to do what I can to bear a little bit of everyone’s burdens. I often have to remind myself that I can’t bear everyone’s burdens (especially for a few hundred people), but I CAN be part of equipping the saints to bear one another’s burdens (that may be a good topic for another blog post in the future).
But I don’t often hear people talk about PRIVILEGE and JOY of pastoring. Granted, I’ve only been the “lead” pastor of one church, and only for three years. And frankly, it might be unfair to compare Raintree to other churches (I can’t help but think I am spoiled as a pastor because of how wonderful our people are). But, even so, there are so many joys in pastoring. Here are just a few:
The Privilege of Pastoring
- I have the privilege of studying the Bible every week in order to shepherd God’s people with God’s own Word. Not to mention, I get PAID to do this. Every time I get a paycheck, I’m amazed that I seriously get paid to do this. I hope I always feel this way.
- I have the privilege of seeing, firsthand, people grow in their love for Jesus, and in their love for living in obedience to Him. Every week– in teaching, one-on-one interaction, emails, phone calls, texts, Facebook– I get to be one small part of seeing people grow. Again, such a joy.
- I have the privilege of having what might be the most weighty “career” in the world. Talk about investing into eternal things. I feel that this is basically all I do (at least most of the time).
- I have the privilege of having some of the most godly, caring mentors and role models, particularly in other pastors I know. My “colleagues” are other pastors, men who love and care for people. I could name multiple other pastors in my area, and elsewhere, that I know I could call at any time and be advised, cared for, and “shepherded” myself.
- I have the privilege of being on the receiving end of prayer. I can’t tell you how often members of our church tell me they pray for me and my family regularly. I know not all churches may be like this, but many are! Just in the last week, I had three different individuals stop me, look me in the eye, and tell me that they were praying for me and Lauryn. I believe them.
- I have the privilege of working alongside some of the godliest men I know. Our elders, in particular. They have their faults, as do I. But they love God so much, and love Christ’s bride. Joe, one of our elders, is about to have open heart surgery, and his wife is fighting stage 4 lung and brain cancer…and he’s regularly checking up on me to see how I’m doing. For real? I’m overwhelmed.
- I have the privilege of preaching the Word. It is my job to present the Word as God has given it. I’m certainly never tempted to think that this is a waste of time. This is such a serious and important task, and, unfathomably, God has entrusted this task to me.
I know there are difficulties in pastoring, and I’ve had some even in only three years. But I can’t help but be overjoyed in having a front-row seat in seeing God transform lives through the gospel, week-to-week and even day-to-day. Our God is awesome, and I love watching Him do what He does.
Perhaps we pastors put too much pressure on ourselves in thinking its our job to change people. Our job is to be faithful to our calling. God’s job is to draw people to himself, and change them from the inside out. Pastoring is only a privilege when we realize God is way better at that task than we could ever be.