I think I speak for a lot of pastors by saying that Mondays are often a bittersweet day.
On the one hand, we’re physically & emotionally exhausted from Sunday. I know all the jokes about how it must be nice to be a preacher because you only have to work one day a week. (At least I think they’re jokes!) But anyone who has ever preached the Word of God knows that it is a tremendous burden to proclaim the Holy Scriptures. I do so each Sunday with fear and trembling. And when my morning is over, I feel the pressures lifted for a few hours, before I have to begin preparing for another message just 7 days hence.
On the other hand, we are blessed so richly at Life Spring, that I normally look forward to coming in to the office on Monday to get a start on the next week. Dennis and I generally debrief on the previous day’s services—going over what went well and where we can improve the worship experience for our attendees. There are meetings to attend, phone calls to make, emails to handle and, and sometimes—before the day ends—I even get to spend some time in the Word.
But then there are some days like today. The day starts off well enough, but it very quickly goes downhill. It is at times like this that I am reminded that ministry sometimes requires us to get dirty. It cannot be accomplished from the ivory towers or from the sidelines. We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and immerse ourselves in a society filled with selfishness, greed, anger and a whole host of other sinfulness. And occasionally that society is very close to home.
The sermon I preach on Sunday needs to work for us—it needs to work for ME—on Monday. Especially Mondays like this. Because it is easy to grow discouraged. Because it is easy to question whether what we do is really worth anything. After all, we make no widgets. We sell no products. We cannot measure our success in terms of customers served or profits earned. We do not measure our worth in dollars and cents. And when it seems that the world is crashing down around us, it is easy to think that there must be other ways to live your life.
And then the phone rings. It’s from someone who attended Sunday’s service. “Thanks”, she says. “I needed to hear that message. It helps me to know I’m not alone.”
The email comes in—different from some of the other emails I’ve read today with spiteful comments and mean-spirited intentions. This one says, “I thought you’d be encouraged to see what my son posted on Facebook.” It included a Scripture quoted in Sunday’s sermon.
And then I turn to the Word for comfort. I know that I am not the first to have a rough patch, so I turn to the Psalms of David and read Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this; He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. (Psalm 37:5-7)
Through His people, through His Word and through His Spirit, God affirms and comforts. He reminds me, as He once had to remind Elijah, that I am not alone. There are many, many others who love the Lord, who cherish His church and who value His will. And I am blessed to be among them.