"Pastors Only Work One Hour a Week…" — Morning Coffee
The old joke goes something like, “I wish I was a pastor since they only work one hour a week.” Sounds slightly giggly, but the reality, clergy people put in much more time than most people realize. The vocation is a busy one; one’s time is not just filled with preparing for weekend worship services. Even in small congregations, pastoral care issues come up daily, most of which take longer to deal with than one hour.
For the past several weeks, these little care issues have cropped up in my life, causing me to deal with complicated interpersonal relationships on top of grand health issues that, when taken in total, cause me to lose sleep. And it’s not that I have a lot of sleep to lose in the first place…
But clergy people do it, regardless of the stresses these issues cause. And by the grace of God, we struggle to deal with them and then we move on.
We don’t ask for help from parishioners. In fact, we don’t even let them on that these individual issues occur.
However, these issues do take an emotional toll on a pastor. To the best of our abilities, we shrug them off, tossing them away like an old rag. Emotionally, they batter us inside. There may be a smile on a clergy person’s face, but inside, we are wrecked. We take other people’s pains and issues very seriously. We know that as those called by God to shepherd His flock on earth, this is all part of the calling. But inside of all of us, when we see those entrusted to our spiritual care are hurting and struggling and in pain, it batters us.
We can only do so much, and yet it always feels like we’re not doing enough.
But we only work one hour a week…
In the Church Office Today
Today, I have little choice but to spend a lot of time in the church office. I am really backed up on so many little church projects. Those who have emailed, I will get back to you sometime. I ask that you have a little patience as I get through this seemingly bottomless pile of office work.
As a reminder, we have worship this evening at 7pm.
Updating the Church Site
If you haven’t noticed, we provided a link on the homepage of our church website that goes to the LCMS Disaster Relief page where you can donate online to efforts to help those recovering from the Oklahoma tornado and from those in our own community and state still recovering from Superstorm Sandy. Additionally, you can mail a contribution in to the address printed on the LCMS Disaster Relief page if you do not feel comfortable making an online donation.
One thing to realize about the glowing coverage the Jersey Shore has received during the past week — the recovery for families is far from over. Yes, many businesses in vacation shore towns are up and running. However, just walk a few blocks inland and the you’ll see the reality that families are still without homes. Many businesses have become faded memories in many communities. Point Pleasant received a lot of glowing news yesterday and today in the local news, yet the reality is that so many people from within Point Pleasant and the surrounding communities are still decimated following Sandy last October.
Governor Christie may have won a teddy bear for President Obama at a boardwalk gaming concession yesterday. Their little ‘date’ played nicely into national news coverage. But my prayers and thoughts are with those families in Point Pleasant and the entire Jersey Shore who have lost their homes and only have rubble and empty lots as remembrances. Please don’t be comforted by photo-ops and pleasant news coverage. Remember our neighbors who are still hurting from Sandy’s destruction.