It was one of those organizations that stopped being relevant ten or fifteen years ago but continued having regular meetings in order to convince themselves that they were still relevant. If the meeting itself didn’t do a good enough job of convincing, they would just remind each other why they were meeting.
We’re doing the Lord’s work!
Well, at this particular meeting I saw something that was anything but the Lord’s work but that I am afraid is far too common in the lives of many Christians, particularly pastors.
One of the leaders in this organization was a busy young pastor who had enough wisdom to know that he was too busy. He announced that it was time to step aside because he was away from his family and church too much.
The other leaders weren’t having it and they told him so in the most religiously acceptable way possible.
“Well, brother, we need you for just another year. Your wife will understand.”
Of course she will! It’s kind of hard to compete with the Lord’s work.
I’ve looked through the Bible and I still can’t find anything about the Lord’s work involving arguing over the finer points of Robert’s Rules well into the wee hours of some random weeknight. But I have found quite a bit about the Lord’s work involving things that typically get a little less attention.
The Lord’s work involves helping out with the laundry so that your wife can get a break (Ephesians 5:25).
It also means being available to sit down with your kids to answer their questions about how to deal with people that are mean, why Moses didn’t get to enter the Promised Land and why RGIII didn’t go ballistic after he lost his playoff game and blew out his knee (Deuteronomy 6; Ephesians 6:4).
And, of course, the Lord’s work means that you pastor your family before you try to be the pastor for a church, the community or the nation (1 Timothy 3:4-5). The local chapter of the Humane Society can find someone else to pray at their ground breaking ceremony but your wife and kids really need you there to pray over dinner.
Most pastors have a people-pleasing gene that makes it nearly impossible for them to say no when asked to serve as the chaplain for the middle school boys tennis team, visit every church member at least twice a month and show up whenever two or more of those church members decide to have a party/meeting/afternoon drive/root canal.
Saying yes to these things will probably get you a good reputation as a pastor. People will talk about what a hard worker you are and you’ll feel good knowing that you’re not like those other loser pastors that fish and golf all week. But what you may not realize is that every time you say yes to another commitment you are saying no to your wife and kids.
Because of your failure to say no, each person making a request of your time is slowly becoming your lord. To put it another way, you really are doing the lord’s work.
And Jesus wants you to stop.
So do your wife and kids.