If one wanted a career in which he would regularly be around dead or dying people, several choices would come to my mind.
- Foreign Aid Worker
- Cop in Chicago
- Members of any Clinton campaign
Yet, I wonder how many would include “Pastor” in a list like that? They should.
Last week I presided over the funeral of an older lady, a sweet lady who had suffered with a lot of physical issues. This coming Monday the story will be repeated. Sad thing, it won’t be the last funeral I conduct.
How many sick and dying people do you see in a year? How many of them ask, “Why is this happening?” or “Will you pray for me?” How many times have you been there when someone breathed their last breath? How many times have you heard someone say, “Why won’t Jesus just take me home?”
If you think being a pastor is all about Sunday morning worship (whatever that may look like for you) and afternoons of golf, you need to stop listening to Hollywood or your disgruntled neighbor. Real pastors are just like shepherds – we are with the flock from birth to death.
Now, when you think of all the other people on the above list (and I’m sure we could add more), which ones do you think regularly tell the people with whom they interact, “You are going to die”?
The soldier? Probably not. And for that matter, far more soldiers never see combat, much less see someone die as a result of their pulling of the trigger.
The policeman? Some of you may think so, but no. More often than not, police involved shootings happen too quick to even think about telling someone he’s going to die. It’s over in seconds.
The doctors and nurses? Only if they are asked, or maybe if it takes saying that in order to convince a person to accept treatment. It’s certainly not good bed manners to tell patients they’re gonna die.
Hospice workers? Honestly, of all the hospice workers I’ve met, I don’t think they would say something like that. It’s pretty obvious since they are there. They just want to make things comfortable and peaceful.
But pastors? Let me tell you, if a pastor/preacher doesn’t regularly remind you of your mortality, that you are certainly going to die at some point, then I seriously doubt his calling.
So, if you’ve never been told, “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
In other words, YOU will one day be put in a box, an urn, turn into shark poop, or something, but YOU are going to die. It’s only a matter of time, and that time has already been appointed.
Every time you see one of those pretty boxes with flowers on top, think about where you will be spending eternity when your body is one.
If you don’t know the answer, I’d love to talk with you about it. Email me at Pastoracbaker@yahoo.com.