I was shocked – shocked! to read in yesterday’s news that pastoring is the happiest job:
There are also some surprises in the 10 happiest jobs, as reported a General Social Survey by the National Organization for Research at the University of Chicago…
- Clergy: The least worldly are reported to be the happiest of all.
- Firefighters: 80 per cent of firefighters are “very satisfied” with their jobs, which involve helping people.
My mother should be proud right now, since I’m a member of the clergy and two of my brothers are firefighters.
How then do you square it with the stats about pastors who seem to be very unhappy with their roles? I’d say that pastoring is probably the hardest and the happiest job at the same time. It’s hard because of people (including the pastor), and of course because it’s a spiritual battle. But it’s also the happiest job. Here are three reasons why.
- We get paid to do really cool stuff. Sometimes I get to my office and start working on my sermon. It hits me: I get paid to spend hours immersing myself in God’s Word and getting ready to communicate it to others. Some of the things I get paid to do are amazing, and it makes me very happy.
- We get to work with people. I have already mentioned that people are one of the reasons why pastoring is so hard, but honestly, people are also the reason why pastoring is such a delight. Is there anything more delightful (and more frustrating) than people? We get to see both sides. A lot of the time it’s great.
- We do meaningful work. They say that job satisfaction is not about money or recognition. It’s about doing meaningful work. And pastoring, despite its challenges, is definitely about doing meaningful work – work that really matters to God, work that matters for eternity.
So maybe the studies are right. Pastoring is one of the toughest jobs out there, but it’s also one of the happiest at the very same time.