I am going to be honest with you, dear reader… I’m not writing this for you to read.
I’m writing for myself.
If you remember, way back in the day blogs were still called “web logs” and they were really nothing more than digital diaries. Some people still use blogs for that reason, and I believe that a lot of them are flat-out liars… Just keeping it real.
Maybe I’m a little/lot jealous of the ones who seem to have it all together. But again, they’re probably lying.
I don’t have it together, believe me. I’m not the perfect husband, dad, son, pastor, or anything. I really do have issues. Doesn’t everyone?
Well, maybe not you.
I’m just sitting here trying to type out my frustrations and get a grip. It’s been a bad day.
Now, even though I said I’m not writing this for anyone to read, there are some people out there who can relate to what I’m dealing with. They are the preachers and pastors who must get up on Sunday morning with the responsibility to encourage the believers, teach the Word, and appeal to the lost. Many of them know exactly what I’m talking about when I say, “I hate Saturday nights.”
There are three days that can be considered a pastor’s worst days: Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
Sunday afternoons and evenings after church, along with Mondays, are usually the most depressing days of the weeks. It’s on Sundays that the pastor has so many expectations and hopes, then Monday is the day he considers another career. Sunday afternoons aren’t always that bad, but it’s usually in the evenings, after the final services (unless there’s only a morning service), that the pastor becomes his worst critic and often blames himself for the lack of attendance or the stone-faced parishioners who rarely smile, much less participate in heartfelt corporate praise.
On Sunday afternoons the pastor blames himself for everything.
Mondays are a little different. On Mondays the pastor has gotten a little past his self-guilt and has moved on to fighting the fight against becoming angry or bitter. It’s on Mondays that many pastors think about leaving their churches or ministry entirely. And if you want to know the cold, hard truth, it’s on Mondays when many pastors consider suicide – it happens.
You know, this might be uncomfortable to hear; but ministry places a lot of stress on a pastor (and his family). Try to put yourself into your pastor’s shoes (or his “glass house”) for a moment. Think of the stress he is under –
- the stress to preach the Truth without compromise, but without offending somebody;
- the stress to grow the church, but without taking the credit;
- the stress to teach and preach quality sermons, but the lack of time to put into it;
- the stress of balancing family responsibilities with church responsibilities;
- the stress of finances;
- the stress of seeing people walk away without ever explaining why;
- the stress of trying to be human, but always being put on a pedestal;
- etc., etc., etc.
Real pastors (not the ones on TV who beg for millions to buy new jets) are some of the most sensitive people you will ever meet, but they have to have thick skin (and wear the full armor of God). They love their people and want to see them on Sunday (and other days), but so often the people in the pews rarely think of how it affects the preacher when they decide to stay at home. Frankly, it’s discouraging.
Yet, we have to do what we are called to do, even if only 2 or 3 show up.
On Mondays many of us wake up asking ourselves the question: “Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing?”
Then there is the night before the sermon. It’s the night when a pastor should already have his sermon prepared and his ducks in a row (especially if he’s an Aflac agent). It’s the night when he should be spending time with his family playing games, watching TV, or going to the park. However, Saturday night is usually the time when the average bi-vocational pastor is up until 1 or 2 a.m. trying to finish what he had little time to do during the week. It’s during those late hours that he’s all alone and able to think and pray…while trying not to feel too guilty for not having everything already done.
But unlike Sundays and Mondays, Saturdays are unique in that if there is going to be a spiritual attack, it’s usually going to be on that day. Aside from the tense couple of hours on Sunday mornings when everybody in the house is trying to get ready at the same time, Saturdays can see more go wrong in a short time than any other 24-hour period. If you think it’s only coincidence, you’ve never lived the ministry life.
On Saturdays the Enemy tries to defeat the minister before he has the chance to preach.
But I’m only defeated if I quit. So, I’m not quitting. I’m not giving up. I’m not backing down. I’m not giving in.
“I am doing a great work, so why should the work cease…?” – Nehemiah 6:3a
When people give up, even when it seems they’re the last one standing, a whole city could be in danger!
“And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.” Ezekiel 22:30
It was my Savior, Jesus, who “for the joy that was set before him endured the cross” (Heb. 12:2), so what is my cross? Is it any heavier than His? And He endured it because of the “joy that was set before him,” or, in other words, what He knew was going to be the result. Like a woman in labor endures the pain of child birth so that she can hold her baby in her arms, so Jesus endured the pains of Calvary so that we could become the children of God.
Are not the pains of ministry – all that our worst days may bring – worth the joys set before us?
I’m not defeated, for we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us (Rom. 8:37).
Like I said in the beginning, I didn’t write this for you; I wrote it for myself.
I needed it.