Reading this, this morning and finding myself in a significant amount of pain from a tooth extraction this week, prompted me to think on the following:
When you’re a pastor with responsibility to teach/preach every Sunday (or more frequently even) it is like having a major deadline at work every week. It doesn’t matter what else comes up, how many holidays in the week or how many sick days you have – the next Sunday is still only seven days away.
As I consider this I am stirred to give thanks for:
- The external affirmation of my call to pastoral ministry beginning many years ago with the church I grew up in, in the States and further affirmed by other churches where I’ve been privileged to minister over the years. From my time in seminary to this day, especially during hard weeks, I am helped by remembering that going into pastoral ministry wasn’t just an idea I came up with on my own. My church leadership and those within my church family affirmed my desire for ministry and sent me for theological training.
- My seminary training. I cannot imagine doing the work of the ministry without the training I received in Greek, Hebrew, Church History, Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology, Hermaneutics, and Exegesis. I am thankful for the courses I had in counselling and preaching as well. But frankly I could have done without those as much of that you learn just by doing ministry. Not one minute of one day of six years of graduate theological education has been wasted. I know there have been many men in the history of the church who have served faithfully without such training, I am just so very thankful I am not one of them!
- My wife. I was married in between my first and second semesters of seminary. (After only knowing each other for four months.) Our first 5+ years of marriage was spent with me studying full-time, working full-time, teaching in church (and serving in other areas like creche, and my wife in music), and adding three children to our family! The last 7+ years has been spent serving in various ministry roles and moving all over the world! I cannot imagine ministry, nor do I believe I would still be in ministry, if not for the sacrificial service of my wife.
- My pastor in my 20’s. The Lord blessed me beyond description in giving me a pastor during my 20’s, while in Uni and a couple of years after, who modeled and taught me a love for the Word, reading/studying sound theology, how to be a husband & father, & how to shepherd the flock. Related to this post and this past week, I am so thankful for the appetite he gave me for reading sound theology. By God’s grace I have been privileged to build a significant theological library and have continuously read extensively. This was all modeled and encouraged by my pastor. One huge blessing from this, is I am never really “starting from scratch” in preparation. For this I am very thankful.
I am certainly thankful for more, but Sunday is coming, there are people to visit, and preparation to complete! 🙂