Sunday, September 13, 2009

Preachers Have to be Shared

There is never enough time for everyone. Even in my postage stamp-sized church, I am amazed at how hard it is to give everyone enough time and attention. There is always someone falling through the cracks of my attention. There is always someone asking for time, asking a question, or tugging me in another direction. Situations like that can be stressful. One of the most difficult facts that a pastor's family - especially the wife - faces is that the preacher has to be shared. There are times when the pastor's wife has to let go. There are times when he is going to be called away. There are going to be plans interrupted. There are going to be awkward situations. There are going to be times when the pastor's wife is left alone, and that can't be helped. It comes with the job.
On the other hand, since most pastors know what we are getting into, we have to do what we can to make time for the family - especially the wife - and make up for the time we miss. That is every bit as hard a lesson to learn as the truth about sharing. I am reminded of a missionary I met several years ago. He and his family were being recalled from the field on account of serious family problems. The largest problem was that this particular missionary had spent so much time with his church that he was virtually estranged from his family. It was a sad situation. The man confessed to me, "I thought if I took care of my church, God would take care of my family." Not that way. God can provide in lots of ways, and He does, but God cannot be a husband to a wife, or a dad to the kids. If it is true that the family must share the preacher with the church, it's equally true that the church must learn to share the preacher with his family. After all, he is their pastor too. It comes with the job.

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