It’s only in the last few years that we have felt the Lord lead us to adopt a theme for the year. Last year, before many of us went into lockdown in our homes, we had felt the Lord put on our hearts the theme, Welcome home. This year, we have felt the Lord lead us to focus on the theme, grow. The word grow conjures up different emotions in me. There was a time, quite early in my pastoral ministry, when it was recommended to me that I engage a ministry coach. It was my desire to do all I could to see our little church at Legana grow. The ministry coach agreed that this should be my focus. It just so happened that at this time I was in the throes of my doctoral studies.
The Secret To Super Strength
I’ve got two secrets to share with you. The first one is experienced by most pastors. The second one is rarely experienced by anyone. Pastors don’t get calloused hands from pastoring. Neither do they generally puff and sweat from their normal pastoring duties. Yet at the end of a day of pastoral duties, most pastors are exhausted. But why? Personally, I found this phenomena quite confusing. While I hadn’t spent the day digging ditches or laying bricks, I had often spent the day just listening to people and praying with them. In between those appointments I’d be preparing discipleship material, getting two sermons ready for Sunday, and marking students’ assignments. Then I’d be exhausted! I eventually discovered what many pastors also come to realise. And this is where I will share my first secret with you. Pastors find pastoring physically exhausting. (This secret also somewhat applies to doctors, politicians, counsellors, therapists and others.) This secret confirms something that the Bible reveals about being human. Each of us are a unity—a composite— of a physical body, a spiritual soul, and an intellectual mind. You might scoff at me calling this a ‘secret’, but I think I have proof to back my claim.
How different would your life be if you were no longer afraid of anything? I’ll tell you: it would be different. My answer to my question is informed by a series of responses by a large group of elderly people gave to a survey asking what their biggest regret in life was. Almost without exception they responded by saying that their biggest regret was that they didn’t take more risks in life. With the benefit of their hindsight they could now see that what they were afraid of when they were younger was never worth being afraid of!
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”