Kelly has told me that I always function better when I'm busy. I'm not sure I believed her, but I looked back at this past week and began to believe it. Just this past week, my slew of activities looks almost impressive: I worked full-time at Cincinnati Christian— recruiting students and preparing an ad campaign, I parented my child, I conducted multiple counseling sessions, I did some repair work on the church building, I spent time with my wife, I trained for a marathon, I went to a preschool open house, I prepared my sermon, I participated in a community council meeting (of which I'm a board member), I participated in numerous meetings (both online and real-life), and I found time to read a book.
And starting this week, I'm taking another seminary class.
And starting next week, I'll be teaching a college course.
And I'm functioning quite well, thank you.
There's a reason why I'm sharing this list, and a vocational one like that: there's a tendency among ministers to keep each other accountable for overworking. True, many ministers have ignored their families for the sake of church work; these people need to understand that God's calling to their family is their greatest responsibility. A larger problem, I'd suggest, is that many of us ministers are lazy.
There, I said it.
A recent survey revealed that clergy are the people most satisfied with their jobs. Many will suggest that this is because they get paid to help people. I would counter that perhaps because it's a sweet gig. While there is some hard work involved with this job, it's no more than any other vocation. Because so few people understand what we actually do, it's difficult to relate to this job stress. My opinion: it could be way worse.
Look, work is work. It's the curse of Eden. But many of us (not just ministers, mind you) loathe it to the extent that we don't see that value in it. While our work doesn't need to define us, it can forge and refine us into stronger people.
I witnessed this firsthand throughout my life. I was reared by a father who was a blue-collar worker who grew up in poverty and by a mother who was an impoverished farmer's daughter. I witnessed first hand their hard work: waking up before dawn, moving from the start of the day until the end of the night, even weekends were devoted to work. They served without ceasing. My parents found pleasure and accomplishment in working hard. My generation is content to outsource.
Sidebar: I wonder how our country will survive when my generation is finally in charge of this thing. Will it be odd when the President of the United States is a gamer?
Now that I'm at the end of this, I'm not quite sure there's a point to my Sunday night rambling. Perhaps it's as simple as this: as you face yet another work week that was the potential for sucktitude, embrace it. Give it your all. Find something redeemable about it. The apostle Paul suggested, "whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."