A bewildered woman at church once asked a pastor friend of mine, “I was wondering, pastor, what DO you do all week?” Ever heard that? My friend didn’t say it, but he wanted to reply, “Lady, just show up tomorrow morning at 5:30—and I’ll show you!”
How often have we preachers gritted our teeth at the layman who says to us, “I wish I had a one-day-a-week job.” When I hear somebody say something stupid like that, to quote Steve Martin, “It always makes me want to cut his lips off.”
I recently read the words of a confused churchgoer: “Trouble is, God is like the preacher. We don’t see him during the week, and we don’t understand him on Sunday!” While we can’t help the first part, we labor hard to overcome the second, don’t we?
What DO we pastors do Monday through Saturday? I made a list. We’re praying, we’re studying, we’re counseling, we’re writing correspondence, we’re handling administrative details, we’re answering the telephone, we’re working with committees, we’re doing some visitation and hospital ministry, we’re marrying and burying, we’re taking time with drop-in folks, we’re planning messages for the future, we’re at seminars and conferences, we’re doing outside speaking engagements, we’re participating in extra church involvement, we’re relaxing, we’re with our family, we’re griping, we’re resting, we’re talking with friends, and occasionally we’re wondering, What in the world am I going to say next Sunday? Truth be told, sometimes we’re feeling sorry for ourselves.
The layman doesn’t know what we do. Some think not much is going on. Others imagine we spend most of our time in prayer . . . or in some kind of constant, holy contact with God. I remember a high school girl who dropped by my study for a visit. She looked scared to death. “You seem a little nervous,” I told her. “Yeah, I am,” she answered. “Why?” I asked. She looked up and then, glancing around the room, said, “Because God’s in here.” I thought, Oh, really? People often have the idea that when we’re not around we’re obviously with God. Kind of like Moses on Sinai.
If they only knew, huh?