Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Staycation

Brothers and sisters, I urge you, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggles in your prayers to God for me... Also, pray that my service for Jerusalem will be acceptable to God’s that I can come to you with joy by God’s will and be reenergized with your company.  May the God of peace be with you all. Amen. (paraphrase from Rom 15: 30-33 CEV).

Greetings from Morganton, NC
I know. I know. Preachers only work on Sundays. So why do they need a vacation? Well, since you asked, I'll tell you.  No, really, let me explain.
This past week I have enjoyed a Staycation. I stayed at home in Morganton where Ed and I have our "non-parsonage" house.  And I have to say, I needed every minute of that Staycation.  I did the typical things you do on vacation, visited local attractions: the Mitsubishi dealership service department (twice), Target, TJ Maxx, Best Buy and various thrift stores. Went to the movies every night. I ate out and cooked in. I went to bed early and stayed up late, and slept as long as I wanted to. In other words, I relaxed and rested.
People who work in church ministry can attest to the non-Sunday rigors of pastoral life. Though we may not be needed, pastors are on call 24/7.  You may not believe that a preacher is willing to drop everything at a moment's notice to attend to someone. You may not get that a pastor's mind and heart is on his or her parish 24/7. But 90% of the time you would be wrong. Most pastors that I know never stop thinking about, waiting on, or praying for the individuals of their "flock."
Pastors are called to be present for God's people. They carry the concern for the state of the people's spiritual health. Pastors hold sacred the reality of life, death, hell and the grave for the people they serve. The burden for others rarely leaves a woman or man who has been called to be a shepherd of God's people.

I, along with anybody who accepts God's call into pastoral ministry, live for the moment when I know that persons under my sphere of responsibility are at one with God; that they are okay spiritually; that they are at peace with God; that they know where they are going when they die; that they live fearlessly in the light of God's grace. Trouble is, we pastors only rarely get to experience that moment.

We do catch glimpses of its possibility, in worship, in times of fellowship, in ministries of outreach, in occasions of learning, and in moments of prayer. But know? for sure?...well, that is what we think about and pray about 27/7. That kind of attention, holding so many in one's heart and mind, believe it or not, wears a person down. It wears a person out. It can even make a person wonder if they have been truly called to such a life in the first place.
So from time to time, a preacher needs to be re-created, to be re-freshed, to be re-called. I am so thankful for my time away this week. I am thankful that God has been able to touch me once again and recreate, refresh, and recall me. I am also thankful that God trusts me enough to allow me to carry the seeds of the gospel; that God trusts that I have a heart worthy of carrying a pastoral love for God's people. That is the story of my staycation, and I'm sticking with it.

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