Here I go, breaking one of my own rules…never write a blog on a Monday…but as I sit here thinking about this time of year, I just really wanted to take a moment to wish all the pastors around the world a Merry Christmas.
You see, I know…
- You spend all year working six, full days a week seeing those in your churches through some of their biggest issues and problems in their lives.
- You have many sleepless nights throughout the year, praying for some of those people interceding on their behalf, for their future.
- You are expected to spend every waking hour making everyone else feel loved and appreciated whilst feeling completely unloved and unappreciated yourself.
- You put many, many hours each week into preparing yourself to stand in front of a room full of people (many of which don’t even like you and are eager to analyse, criticise and judge your efforts) and deliver an encouraging, yet challenging word from God’s word.
- You spend hours just on working out how to package and present that word in such a way that people will be able to hear it and apply it.
- You and your family often pay a huge relational price when people don’t receive you or your teaching well.
- You often spend your day off wishing you had said this, and hadn’t said that, and wondering how that is going to affect Mrs. so and so.
- You spend hours every year listening to people tell you how to do your job better (even though you never once told them how to do theirs!).
- You cop the odd spray, when people feel the need to let you know that you aren’t living up to their pastoral expectations and they don’t feel loved, appreciated or cared for.
- You often go unpaid only to have people accuse you of mishandling church finances or obviously earning too much because of your nice car or “holidays” you go on all year.
- You spend your whole year (24/7) living in a great big fish bowl (or maybe behind a drum screen!) where everyone can see everything you do and often feel free to sit around with others and discuss it accordingly.
- You are expected to be an agent of God’s absolute grace…all day every day…distributing it freely to everyone who needs it…though rarely receiving any such grace in return.
- You and your family probably can’t afford to have the kind of Christmas everyone around you is, because the finances are always worse during November – February.
- You are calling as many people as you can to let them know you appreciate all they have done this year…though you won’t get many similar calls yourself.
- You are told that your blessing will be in Heaven one day…and that is supposed to cause you to tolerate everything that people throw at you all year and all you go without because of your role.
- That this list could go on for hours and still not cover all that is required of you…and that you feel like all of these points are real for you at some point in the year, even if they’re not.
Well I just want you to know…
That I read some of your blogs, tweets, books, webpages and listen to some of your on-line preaching and podcasts and I give to some of your online giving webpages and I appreciate what you have done to make such things available to others like me. I appreciate every one of the above points (even though not all may be relevant to all) and I very much appreciate that most of you live sacrificial lives all day every day, thinking of everyone but yourselves and that you pay a huge relational and financial price for the life you lead. I appreciate all that you go without to do your best to make others’ lives better (even when they reject you, despise you and leave you). I appreciate the time you spend focussing on the needs of others above your own. I appreciate the hours in your study of prayer and preparation and the hours of stressful presentation you do every single week for the benefit of others.
I appreciate the price you are paying and I hope that this Christmas for you, is the best it can be. I hope you get some time with your own, real family and that they love on you and spoil you and that you get to enjoy some refreshing time with people who actually genuinely love you. I hope you get to share the love of Jesus with some who share the love of Jesus with and for you!
Thank you, for everything you do!
Now maybe I’ll go back to not blogging on a Monday.