Pastors … I want to share a word of encouragement for you that I gleaned from a recent message by Henry Williams of Five Oaks Church in Woodbury, MN. The text was Luke 10. Yes, you know the story. Mary and Martha. (Side bar, a cute Advent/Christmas title could be “Are you having a Mary Christmas or a Martha Christmas?”). Anyway, Henry was explaining how we Pastors stress out about the details of the church we are serving. Are there enough conversions? Will the members complain about “minor” changes? Will they like my sermon? Do they like me? OK, I know you’re nodding.
(Another side bar: My current position affords me the weekends off so I am now more in the pew rather than the pulpit. I use to take is so personally when attendance was down that I’d literally go home feeling ill. Now, when attendance is down, it’s more room for me to spread out in the pew! Funny how one man’s stress is another man’s leisure… I think that’s how it goes. But I digress …)
Back to Mary and Martha. Pastor Henry went on to explain that the issue wasn’t that Martha was doing anything wrong. Serving is good and in that culture, hospitality reigned. The issue was that Martha was stressed about making a good impression rather than being impressed by the One whom she was serving. She put the details above the Deliverer. She elevated the service over the Savior.
Pastors. Honestly, how many of us do the same thing? Sunday morning comes and we are so freaked out that the music is not too loud or too soft, that the bulletins are printed just right and that the acolyte is not wear tennis shoes.
Perfectionism is a killer! Excellence is a life-giver.
Remember that our ministries are not ours, they are Gods. We are simply stewards of the most important institution in the world – the local church.
So as you live in the “tri-fecta” holiday season (Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s), stop for a second and ask the Lord to reaffirm your position as steward and, as a dear friend constantly reminds me, resign as general manager of the Universe.