There is one aspect of pastoral ministry that can be a little bit annoying.
The work of church ministry is very rewarding and fulfilling. It certainly is a challenge, to say the least. Every day is a new adventure. It seems like the more I plan for what my schedule is going to look like, the more it doesn;t look like I thought it should.
So...what's annoying about church ministry? THE HOLIDAYS! If all ministers were truthful about it, they might all say the same thing.
Don't get me wrong...please! I LOVE the last few months of the year. They bring such fun into our lives. I think it may start with Halloween/All Saints day. A good time of family and taking children to get free candy. How wonderful is that.
Then comes Thanksgiving. Ah yes, the turkey, stuffing, mashes potatoesand the rest. Family, football, parades on TV. All a blast.
Then, advent and Christmas...funner still. Family, again...presents, holly, mistletoe, etc., etc.. Good times to be had by all.
As a minister, I see the great meaning behind all of these days and holidays. I so enjoy preaching through these months, and spending time preparing for these sermons in the fall and summer prior. It's all good.
But, I must say, there are times when I get so wrapped up in all the activity that I lose prespective. There is so much running around doing good holiday stuff. So much time spent getting the entire church on the same page, (which, frankly, rarely seems to happen... :-) ), and trying to organize events and activities that I am not as thankful as I need to be.
Here is the thing that Psalm 69 grabs me by the throat about. If I am going to make it through these kinds of times, I need to be intentional in my appreciation to God. I need to be thankful DURING the busy times. I need to be more grateful while the events and activities are going on, and not look at how busy I am. David says, "I WILL PRAISE the name of the Lord with a song; I WILL MAGNIFY Him with thanksgiving." "I will..." "I will...
Thankfulness comes easy when the times are great and we are sitting back in our recliners drinking iced tea and "chilling out". Thanksgiving is a breeze when the times are relaxed and easy. Thanksgiving becomes something else when life is flying by and I am not engaged in the events. It's sometimes like my body just shows up and goes through the motions.
This year has been different. I told the congregation on Sunday that I am thankful for 3 things. One that Heather and I are enjoying ministry together again. It's been along time since we have been able to just go to church every week together. I am also thankful for my great family who love me in spite of me. And I am thankful for this church! I'm so grateful that God has led us to this wonderful group of people. I am truly blessed.
Yes, I am very very busy trying to keep everyone happy during this time, but God is helping me to be more thankful DURING THE PROCESS. I hope that shows. Yes, there are multiple concerts, dinners, events that I have to attend, but God is helping me with my "attitude of gratitude".
Try it...you'll like it. Intentional thanksgiving...is a blast!
Yours and His,