In response to my post below, someone left the following Driscoll quote:
"Accept that your life is abnormal. Nothing about life as a ministry leader—from its emotional toll to relational demands and constant interruptions—is normal. Accepting that you are a freak with a freakish life will help you not to freak out."
I think Driscoll's point is well taken... if balanced with the feeling behind my post- that in a very real; sense, I have a job just like anyone else. Yes- it's different, in some ways. It's also very much the same.
I think I wrote the post below (at least in my head) to counter the idea, held often by people in the pews and by pastors themselves, that those in ministry are out of touch and don't know what it's like to hold down a "real" job.
More and more, I'm coming to see this is just a misconception- and one we in ministry play into by playing along with.
Yes, we have more flexibility than many people do, it's true. There are differences between my job and many others'. But to say that we don't work is simply false.
There's an idea out there that's beginning to gather some steam right now, that in some ways, it would be better if all pastors were bi-vocational. That way (so the thinking goes), we'd know what "real" people go through on a day-to-day basis.
Yeah? Real people, huh?
I worked a 50 hour week last week. Not too out of the ordinary for many people in the workforce, right? Exactly. My 45-50 or so hour work weeks are a mixture of time spent doing creative work, time spent doing hard lifting with people in counseling, time spent confronting problems and issues and trying to put out fires and time spent doing administration. I plan and lead worship gatherings, do public speaking, teach theology groups, I write correspondence in an effort to reach out to people and remind them that I am thinking of them, and I engage in discussions with our community on our forum. I try not to blog on my community's dime, don't do my devotions/personal time with God "on the clock" or spend too much of my community's money on coffee. I struggle hard to turn off the job on my days off and at night, usually unsuccessfully.
It's not the world's hardest job, but it's not the easiest either. And not just anyone could do it. No, brothers and sisters, we are not "professionals" (to paraphrase John Piper), and what we do is a calling... but it's also a job. A job that we can do with either all our hearts or with only half our asses... just like everyone else.
I'm not sure why I'm writing this, other than to say, I agree with Luther on the holiness and God-blessed-ness of all work... even pastoral work.