The Best Job

This past Christmas, Cara and I received a gift from our daughter and son-in-law, a subscription to the STORYWORTH writing network which sends you one question per week for you to write about, sharing life experiences and perceptions, details and analysis for future generations to read. I just finished by 22nd entry which I want to share with you all since it pertains to
our life together as a spiritual family seeking to follow Jesus.
Q. What is the best job you’ve ever had?
Being a Pastor, of course. You only have to work one day a week! :)

I tried being a “Box Boy” at Albertsons in High School, but I couldn’t support a family on that.

I tried telemarketing research, but never quite got used to the hang ups after the third question.

I tried framing construction work, but didn’t really fit in to the Monday morning hang-over nail gun fights three stories up on skinny rafters.

I tried the Linen Department at Robinson’s in Pasadena, selling Charisma Towels and Ecru linens to people who had way too much money.

I even tried contractor painting where I learned “Prep is King” and “Never say ‘OOPS!’” out loud at a customer’s home.
After all of these temporary place holders, I finally found my real life work; ”A spiritual guide for maturing in the Christian life” (Neil Q. Hamilton). There’s just nothing quite like working one hour, one day a week, and giving people free, unsolicited advice about their fixer-upper life (wink, wink).

All silliness aside, I love what I have done my entire professional career. Just like marriage, it is powerful, passionate, persuasive, poignant, principled, and pragmatic - as well as - painful, panicky, petulant, pessimistic, prejudiced and problematic (alliteration attributed to my father, E.W.P!). Being a pastor is, to steal and re-purpose the famous line of Emily Dickenson, “A wild ride on a dark night!” Anything can and will happen. Or, Charles Dicken’s famous quote from his classic book, “A Tale of Two Cities”: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Ministry is one great big slice of everything in life.

It’s one of the three hardest things I’ve ever done/attempted in my life: (1) Be a good husband; (2) Be a good father; (3) Be a good Pastor/follower of Jesus. Every great role in life is a journey unto itself. This combination requires nothing short of a miracle — every day! Loving what I do, and who I am with, has been the magic sauce that has kept me partially sane and inthe-
game, still standing. I love being a Prophet, Pastor, and Priest on behalf of God. A Prophet is a “forth-teller” more than a “future -teller,” bringing out the heart of the Father (His word, will, and ways) to the people. A Pastor is a shepherd tending a flock, protecting, feeding, nurturing, and abiding with them as they roam the hills of life in search of safe pasture. A Priest is one
who stands in the gap and advocates for the ones who need repair and restoration, dignity and hope, love, acceptance, and forgiveness. Priests cancel condemnation, remove estrangement, and restore accepted and beloved status.

There is nothing more beautiful about my work as a pastor than when I get to participate in canceling the grip of brokenness, and restoring dignity and hope of people back into the life-giving clutch of our Creator. This is the essence of Salvation. Heaven’s gift is not a “get out of jail free” card, but a holistic awareness that I have found my way back to who I was meant to be;
and to whom I belong. As the character “Old Rose” in the movie Titanic spoke of her beloved young lover, Jack Dawson, “He saved me in every way a person can be saved.” Truth be told, much of pastoral ministry is navigating the choppy waters of “Churchianity.” Christians (pastors included) reinforcing their own religious traditions and blending their political/ideological worldviews, and mixing in their consumer preferences, while presenting and behaving through their personalities, problems, and pains is a noxious brew for a very slow-cooking cake. One wonders, at times, if delicious frosting will even help?

People work is the hardest work in the world. It is also the most rewarding when you get to see magic. Every once in a while, the clouds part, and the summit is revealed. This is what inspires hikers to stay on the trail.

“We have this treasure in earthen vessels” ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7

On to perfection!

Pastor David 😊

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