(Warning: this post rambles)
This may come as a shock to some of you, but some Sunday mornings I fake it. I fake wanting to be there, I fake wanting to talk to people, I fake my praises. Don’t hear me say that I dislike ministry because I love it, I can’t see myself doing anything else. Similarly, don’t hear me say I dislike Southside Baptist Church, because they’re like family to me. I’ve actually had a person ask me to consider coming and serving at another church as student minister but I turned them down because I love Southside so much. What I mean by “I fake it” is just that; I fake a good attitude.
Why did I fake it today? It all started seven days ago. This past week I worked Sunday through Thursday engaged in the usual pastoral duties: visiting, calling, writing cards, reading, reading, studying, studying, studying. Then Friday (which is usually my day off) I had a great, yet exhausting, time with the students at a local Fun Park for eight hours. Saturday offered no respite because I was in charge of a children’s ministry event, a “winter celebration,” and that was even more exhausting than the student event. So today, when I came to church I had had my fill of being around people. All I wanted was to stay in my office and read. Indeed, that’s just what I did up until the worship service started. I virtually closed myself off in my office until with one minute to spare I bolted down the hallway to the platform where I sit during the morning service.
I knew that if I went into that sanctuary with time to kill I’d get caught up in a conversation filled with pleasantries. The type of pleasantries that people who only speak to each other once a week engage in. This type of conversation, by the way, I have to prepare myself for. It EXHAUSTS me. Some people get energized when they spend time in situations like this. I, however, do not. After a bout of chatting and shaking 100+ hands in the matter of 30 minutes I have to retreat to my solitude like a recluse and recover.
I gave the morning announcements and the invocation prayer with the usual excitement in my voice, but it was faked. I sang all the worship songs as though I’d rather be doing nothing else, faked. After the service I shook hands and told people how good it was to see them, fake, fake. I was faking it all. What did I want most this morning? To be sleeping.
“Normal” people get to choose whether or not they go to church. If they have a cold, they don’t have to go. If they legitimately need to catch up on their sleep, they don’t have to go. But for me it’s not just church. I don’t go there just to lay my worship before the Lord. I go there to work. I go there to earn money. I go there to support my family. It’s my trade. 99% of the time I love my trade. I love it when “work” involves me taking a group of teens to Six Flags Over Georgia. I love it when “work” means I get to go to church and am paid to be there. But sometimes I wish I could just opt out of a Sunday here and there. Sometimes my heart’s just not in my work. In that way I suppose being a minister is just like any other vocation. There are days when you love to work and there are days when you have to work. I suppose I shouldn’t expect ministry to be any different.
In conclusion, I praise God that He’s given me the ability to work and the privilege to work for Him! Though, perhaps we should keep in mind that any job a Christian does he should do it as if working for the Lord. I wonder, does that mean we are to never dislike our work? I think not.