Itâ€™s cold out there tonight, considering that two days ago it was +35 and by Monday that temperature is booked for a return appearance. But tonight a cool wind is blowing, which makes it feel like Autumn is right around the corner, and Iâ€™m not at all ready for that.
It is late though, but for it being my holiday time, I should be in bed. But Iâ€™m up thinking about a few things, a few people.
I am thinking about a few of you that I know out there who sacrifice your time and energy and sometimes a bit of time with your family, and your income, to do something you feel strongly called to do. Serve God.
You are out there, (and Iâ€™ve been praying for you) daily taking care of churches and caring for people. You have sacrificed comfort and ease for hard work and difficulties, because somewhere inside you felt God call you to a place or a work, and you honestly only wanted to be faithful to that sense of call.
And now you try to love people who donâ€™t like your accent or what you wear or even how you do things. Some of you serve two or three churches and that leaves you with no time to go deep with people you truly care about.
Some of you work â€œpart timeâ€ because the church doesnâ€™t have enough money to pay you for full time work, and we know that part time doesnâ€™t mean you go for half a visit when someone is dying in the night.
Some of you work with people who really donâ€™t want you there, and they worked hard to make sure you wouldn't come there, and now that you are there they work hard to see you leave.
Others of you, if you were to count up the hours worked, are getting about 8 or 9 or 10 dollars an hour, while trying to pay for an education that didn't always prepare you for these realities of ministry.
Little fruit, lost moments with family, driving a tired old station wagon. These are some of the things you know well.
Tonight I'm thinking about some of those pastors who have lost their way a bit, or who are discouraged. This isn't a pity party here, this is just me, a fellow pastor saying I know, I get it. I understand and I've been talking to God about you, and your needs.
I need to remind us that success, our success, doesn't look like the success the rest of the world knows and aims for. That there is huge value in sacrifice, and that following a call God has placed in your spirit may not be easy, but it is the road we choose to walk.
So continue to walk it out. Remain faithful to God, and love your spouses and your kids. Do what you can to point your people to God, always pointing to the cross and Christ who hung there. And as best you can, love those Christ has brought you to. More than teaching or leading or counselling them, love them. For that will do more to see them change than any other one thing you can do. Just love them.
And take care of your own hearts. Guard against unforgiveness which leads to bitterness. Keep praying. Take a nap. Play with your kids. Be real. And love the one you're with. If that's yourself, it still follows.
And now I shall follow some of my own advice.