You sometimes hear pastors complain about how hard their work is. There’s an element of truth to this: ministry is hard work. If it isn’t, you’re probably doing it wrong.
The problem, though, is when we think that we have it harder than anyone else. Carl Trueman wrote about this recently, and he put it as only he can:
Perhaps I am alone in this but maybe, just maybe, there are others out there who are fed up of hearing just how hard the ministry is. Indeed, the ‘ministry is hard and dangerous’ style of writing is almost a genre in itself these days…
Perhaps it is time for those of us who have ministerial jobs which we by and large enjoy and which actually shield us from much of the aggressively secular world out there to spend less time puffing ourselves up as martyrs to a cause or as danger men living risky lives on the edge and instead give thanks for the comparatively easy green pastures in which we have been allowed to lie down.
I may adopt a new spiritual discipline to help make this happen.
I recently found myself a little too busy and overwhelmed — in other words, in the midst of what most people call ordinary life. I grumbled to myself while running some errands. On the way, I stopped at a carwash that my wife recommends: one in which the car is dragged on a conveyer through cloth streamers. At the end of the wash, two employees hand-dry the car on the way out.
I live in Toronto. It is winter. It’s cold. And this is their job. They spend their days standing outside wiping down cars like mine.
Every time I start to grumble to myself, I may head down to the carwash for a reality check. If that doesn’t work, I may even offer to take a turn hand-drying some cars myself. Ministry has its moments, but I never want to lose sight of the incredible privilege that is mine. I’d better not complain.