What does it take to knock you to the floor? In boxing terminology, do you have a "glass jaw" - easily knocked out? What weakens your knees?
For me, as a pastor, NOTHING packs a harder punch to my gut than to see sheep in the flock making decisions and choices that destroy their lives. It gives me that "sick in the stomach" feeling, and also tempts me to doubt my role in their lives. Is it my fault? Have I failed to teach and guide them along God's path?
Today I'm reeling. I feel like I've been through 3 rounds with Clubber Lang. I'm looking for the bell to ring. Three times in the past few days I've received news of more casualties in the making. I know, it "goes with the territory", and "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen".
If your pastor(s) is truly a shepherd please encourage and pray for him. Not only does he have his own life to live with its challenges [What? A pastor's life has challenges?], but he also is there to carry broken sheep and goes after the straying. And regardless of what he or you might think, he's not superman.
I've also been greatly encouraged at the same time. In the last 24 hours I've received two messages via the internet that God used to pick me up off the mat. One was from a guy I discipled and taught 30 years ago when he was in high school. He's still going strong for the Lord. The other was from total strangers who attended our church yesterday with their adult daughter. They said the sermon was as though I had sat in on their conversation with her on Friday night. She's got some life-altering choices to make in the next couple of days, and what I said yesterday apparently was like it was crafted for her.
And yesterday a young couple who have been attending our church for a while came up and shared how God is directing their lives to change some things and make some right choices!
I'm not asking for any sympathy. But what I would hope is that the many who read this blog and are involved in churches would realize that their pastors are called to trudge through a lot of heartache and tragedy, and most of the time have to keep it to themselves. Thank God for him/them. Let your pastor(s) know you pray often for him/them and are appreciative of their work on your behalf. Do something unexpected to bless him.
I'm blessed to be a leader in an incredible, healthy church. And I know I've got it better than most. So it's those "most" I'm writing for today.
Just don't take them for granted. Sometimes the kitchen just gets too hot and the burdens seem too great. Don't let him throw in the towel because the punches hurt too much.