Recently, I have heard members complain about lazy pastors, so I thought I would go online to find supporting articles to educate these people about the fact that pastors are not lazy. They are just overworked and under-paid/under-appreciated. Unfortunately, what I found was an overwhelming number of websites claiming that pastors are just great at making excuses. There’s an irony there, because pastors have been gifted with the ability to communicate proficiently (and they are paid to do so every Sunday).
I could not believe some of the vitriolic and venomous vomit that was poured out upon various pastors as I read articles, blogs, message boards, comments, and the like. I am always amazed at the candor with which people post on the Internet. For me, it is somewhat cowardly, because these same people would not dare make such comments face-to-face to their victims.
It got me thinking, though. Have I become lazy? I serve in two different ministries at the church on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday which require me to prepare two different sermons, three different bible studies, attend morning prayer, and do office hours. I have a full-time job, I am a full-time seminary student, and I have a wife and two kids. Something always has to give and it’s usually not church. Have I become lazy?
I did some major soul-searching after a trying day at church yesterday and I was asking myself, “Have I become lazy?”
When I use ideas from other pastors and ministries, am I “borrowing” or “stealing?” When I prepare sermons until 3 AM Sunday morning, is that “diligence” or “procrastination?” When I mindlessly go through a prayer meeting like a zombie, is it because I was “tired” or because I didn’t feel like it? When I recycle a sermon am I “saving time” or am I “jipping” my audience? When I don’t go out of my way to have a conversation with certain members is it because I don’t want them to feel “uncomfortable” or is it because it’s too stressful to deal with them? When I prepare things at the last minute or things don’t get done, is it because I was “busy” or is it because I am not putting any effort into it? Have I become lazy?
Pastoral ministry is a complicated beast. There is a deep desire to live a life of integrity . . . a life above reproach. Yet, you find yourself cutting corners in every area of your life so that everyone can at least have a piece of you. Unfortunately, people aren’t satisfied with a slice or two. They complain because they believe they deserve the whole thing. In all truth, don’t they have every right to feel that way? Have I become lazy?
Let me make a point, though. As a pastor, I will strive to give my best to you out of reverence to my Jesus. Sometimes you may not get 100% of me, but He tells me that I will be held accountable for the way I dealt with you. So that’s on me. You, then, out of the same reverence to Jesus, would you withhold your complaints, grumbling, whining, and accusations until you are certain that you have done everything within your power to support your pastor through your words and your actions and your behavior and your attitude? Seriously . . . EVERYTHING (your all). Or . . . have you become lazy?