Why We Do What We Do

Discouragement – we’ve all been there.  In fact, I recently read a statistic that stated that 50% of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.  I’m not sure how accurate that statistic is, but I can certainly understand the sentiment.  There have been many times that I’ve found myself sitting at my desk wondering why I put up with it all.  Between the long hours, low pay, unrealistic expectations (both mine and my congregants) and church people with sometimes less than a proper Christian attitude, it can really get to you.  In moments like this I often wonder if I’m wasting my time.  But it seems that when these feelings come, God always brings along some encouragement.

One moment that sticks out to me happened last summer.  I had gone through a particularly stressful time and was sitting at my desk totally bummed out, and wondering why I was even still in the ministry. You could say that I was having my own little “Elijah pity party” (1 Kings 19:10) I noticed that the mail had just arrived, and in it was a card from one of my parishioners.  She wrote a great note of encouragement and included this statement: “I asked myself why I was so grateful for you, and then I realized that it’s because you brought my family to Jesus!”  In the card she placed pictures of our recent baptism service in which I had baptized her husband, brother, sister-in-law, niece, and father-in-law.  I sat at my desk and cried like a baby.  This was why I was doing it!  The sheer joy of leading someone to Jesus is worth all the hassle in the world.  Yes, the job of a pastor – especially a rural pastor – is a tough job.  In my opinion it’s the toughest job in the world.  But the rewards are great!  I’ve since put together a basic video of that baptism service and anytime I start to feel down, all I have to do is watch it and I am reminded of why I do what I do.  Here’s a link to the clip – I hope you enjoy it and encourage you to make one of your own.

http://www.facebook.com/v/1537268945627

Have you had any particularly discouraging times?  What do you do when you are discouraged? Leave a comment below.

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