“How are you doing, Mr. Baker?”
What a question to ask a person lying on a hospital bed, attached to a bunch of colored wires, and aching from a harpoon in the back of his hand!
“Well, If I was doing good I wouldn’t be here, that’s for sure.”
Long story short, my wife took me to the ER because I was experiencing chest pain. The pain (a sharp, sickening feeling in my upper left chest) began to look suspiciously like a heart attack. It wasn’t, though. It’s all related to a possible ulcer, or whatever. Mostly stress.
Stress can cause a lot of problems, and pastors are subject to some of the most stress of any vocation. Bi-vocational ministers experience even more. And, because I’m lying here as the result of stress, causing my family to worry, racking up more medical bills, and wasting valuable time, I can’t help but feel guilty.
“If stress is the cause of all this,” I said to my wife, “then it makes me wonder how ‘backslidden’ I actually am?”
Now, why would I say that? Well, we’ve all been taught to “cast our burdens upon the Lord.” I’ve preached plenty of times how that “worry is a sinful” because it is “not of faith.” You see, of all people I should be an example of worry-free living. I should be able to testify to the fact that “His grace is sufficient.” But the fact is that I’m human. I do get stressed. I do worry.
Physician, Heal Thyself
It’s easy to say, “don’t worry.” It’s easy to say, “don’t get stressed.” But it’s a totally different matter when you find yourself charged with the keep of men’s souls. It is not only for myself and my family I contend, but the spiritual welfare of many, who at times, could care less.
Some have said, “Well, that’s your own fault…don’t worry about me…you live your life, and I’ll live mine.” What they don’t understand is that watching out for their lives IS my life.
For what it’s worth, if you have a pastor, keep in mind that he cares for you (or at least he should). It’s not only his job, but it’s his heart.
(NLT) Hebrews 13:17 Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.
In conclusion…I’m doing OK, but I need to keep in mind my God is in control. Other than that, thank you, Liz (my nurse) for getting me out of that “second stick.”