Unloading Every Sunday
by Bob Dasal
October is Pastor Appreciation Month and Pulpit Helps
wants to encourage every God-called pastor as they "do the work of the ministry."
Pastor Ken Sumrall tells a pointed story from his days in Mississippi that dates back to 1956. He was out visiting and stopped at the house of a farmer who was a member of his church. As they looked out over the farmer's acres and acres of white cotton, the farmer said, "Pastor, you've got it made. The way I figure it, we pay you $50 an hour."
Ken asked the farmer how he came up with such a figure.
"Well," the man stated with a grin, "we pay you $50 a week (keep in mind it was 1956). You preach about 30 minutes on Sunday morning, and 30 minutes on Sunday night."
Ken took a moment to think that over, and then said: "That's pretty high pay all right, but you make more than I do."
"Come on now, pastor. I'm just a cotton farmer. How can you say that?" the farmer asked.
The preacher responded, "I saw you down at the cotton gin last week, and you must have made $250 in 15 minutes."
"Yeah, but look what went into that bale of cotton! I was just unloading it."
"That's what I mean. I study and pray all week. On Sundays I am just unloading."
The late Dr. John R. Rice said, "Some folks say all a preacher has to do is get up and preach. Well now, there's a lot of getting up to do. First he has to get up sermons; then he has to get up a crowd; after that he has to get up some power. Then he has to get up and preach."
It's a challenging time to be a pastor. Pastors have the opportunity to reach beyond the four walls of the church building like never before. But the opportunities of a new century are also loaded with many hazards. According to a recent survey by Focus on the Family, 40 percent of pastors are discouraged and 20 percent are thinking of leaving the ministry altogether.
In their book, Pastors at Risk, Dr. H. B. London, Jr. and Dr. Neal B. Wiseman say, "Ministry hazards are choking the hope out of pastors' souls. They feel disenchanted, discouraged, and often even enraged. They question why they should be expected to squander energy on trivial matters when evil threatens to wreck the human race. Fatigue shows in their eyes, worry slows their stride, and vagueness dulls their preaching."
Here are three suggestions we hope will be helpful to pastors as they deal with the pressures of pastoring.
* First, take time to be alone with God.
*Second, Be mindful that while you are to minister to people, it is the Lord you are to please.
*Third, keep a good sense of humor. Someone has well said, "Take your work seriously, but never take yourself seriously."
As you faithfully serve you can be assured, in terms of time and eternity, you have a ministry that matters!