Pastor, You’re Tired. Maybe It’s Right Where You Need to Be
The weariness produces physical aches. The weight of stress can smother you. Every week feels like a marathon. Some of my pastor friends have been pushed out of their churches. Others wonder if they are next. The church down the road sold their campus to a developer.
You feel the pressure of long-distance shepherding. Not everyone can be present. You make phone call after phone call checking on people you love. There are not enough hours in the day.
Pastoring a church has always been a demanding profession. Most churches need to change, but they don’t desire it. When you are hired, the people ask for strong leadership then vote down your proposals. The demands are even greater now. Many churches are teetering on the precipice of possible closure.
Don’t give up.
You’re in the fight of your life, and it’s exactly what God called you to do. The American church is beginning to learn how to scrap for survival. Think back to when you were first called, and you dreamed of the moment that became the catalyst for a work of God.
We’re living the moment right now. Exhaustion is leading to complete reliance on the Spirit.
One of the most misunderstood concepts in the Bible is God’s blessing. It’s also one of the most misapplied concepts as well. We assume we know how God wants to bless. We assume we know what God’s blessings should look like. Why? We want a blessing on our terms, in our way, and within our timing.
I’ll never forget listening to a preacher proclaim boldly, “God is a GIVER! Not a TAKER!” I wanted to scream the words of Job to him: “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
If you think God’s blessing means the easiest path, or even a level of success, then you would be mistaken. God’s blessing is ultimately not about the good life and a vibrant ministry. God’s blessings can come through the hard nights and the tears. Pain and loss can unravel us, but pain and loss can also transform us.
A blessing is complete satisfaction in God no matter what is happening around you, to you, or in your church.
God got the attention of His people in the book of Haggai by ruining their work. They didn’t have enough to eat. They were never satisfied. They stayed cold and could not get warm. They worked hard but not for God. They were frustrated, disappointed, tired, and discouraged. When you read Haggai, you might think it was written about 2020.
Then something happened in that low point. God roused their spirits. The language in the text implies sleepiness. They heard God’s alarm clock. The American church has hit the snooze button far too many times. The Spirit is stirring.
You’re tired. I’m tired. I’m sure Haggai was tired too.
Is it a good time to be a pastor? Not really. But when I read the prophets in the Old Testament, I’m not thinking, “This was a good time to be a prophet.” Frankly, it’s a hard time to be a business leader, parent, school teacher, and a lot of other things.
I hear God’s alarm clock.
I’m not so sure I’m ready to wake up. I could use a few more hours of sleep.
But I’ll get up and get to God’s work.
Maybe we’re right where God wants us.
The blessing is God Himself.