... I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the Gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. 1 Corinthians 9:22b-23
Today's devotion is talking about parish pastors.
Although there are preachers that leave something to be desired, the really good ministers, like St. Paul, try to be all things to all people. This they do in service to the Lord and because they recognize the Holy Spirit has made them caretakers for the souls of their congregation.
That, my friends, is a big job and a big responsibility.
Recently, I came across an article written by a fellow who had been a pastor. He shared how he had once asked the elders of a new congregation to write down their "minimum expectations" of him and the time they thought it would take him to fulfill those expectations. When he did the calculations, this is what those expectations were:
Prayer at the church: 14 hours
Sermon preparation: 18 hours
Outreach and evangelism: 10 hours
Counseling: 10 hours
Hospital and home visits: 15 hours
Administrative functions: 18 hours
Community involvement: 5 hours
Denominational involvement: 5 hours
Church meetings: 5 hours
Worship services/preaching: 4 hours
Other: 10 hours
That's 114 hours. Now you pastors reading that list have already done the calculations and found you spend more time in some of those areas and less time in others. And you laypeople are probably saying, "That can't be. That would mean my pastor would -- if he took one day off per week -- end up putting in 19 hours a day."
Yup, that's what it means.
Now I'm not saying that every good pastor regularly puts in all those hours, all the time. That would be foolish. Every pastor will tell you there are days when things are slow and weeks when demands are like a tsunami, washing over him.
This is why this devotion encourages you to pray for the man, or men, whom the Lord has put into your pulpit. Ask that the Lord be generous in giving your pulpiteer faithfulness, compassion, discernment, a spirit of joy, and a family that is supportive.
And for those of you who are saying, "But we don't have one of those good pastors like the devotion is talking about."
To you I say, for such a pastor you must pray twice as hard.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks for those faithful people whom You have called into the pastorate. Please equip them with a faith which shines in all they do. Grant that the Savior's love for us be reflected between pastor and parish, as we share Jesus' blood-bought story of salvation. In His Name, I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries