Written by Rev. George Vink to local Pastors.
After being in the church’s employ for over forty-nine years, I find retirement a delightful time of setting my own hours. But, I still find myself dealing with feelings of, “Shouldn’t you be doing something?” None of the churches I served had a time clock for punching in or out. I suppose it would’ve had to be a portable one. After all, would I punch in going to a ball game to watch my favorite catechumens? Should I punch out reading a Clancy thriller?
It’s December, meaning it’s the Advent, Holidays, New Year, family gatherings, staff dinner and possible traveling season. Could the average pastor take the full two-plus hours I did to participate in President Bush’s televised funeral service?
I’m thankful I could. I’m hopeful others did too.
It was an encouraging if not challenging time. Those present and participating via television heard stories of a man who lived a full life. I wondered, “Was it an example of what Jesus had in mind?” (John 10:10) The pastor’s quoting, “Preach the gospel, use words only if necessary,” served appropriately to underline the need to live what we believe.
The pastoral calling can become a dictator of our time. Seminaries now talk about typical hours involved in fulfilling it. Church members for years have suggested its attraction for having to work “Only two hours a week,” if there are evening services. Every pastoral family has to set its boundaries, appreciating the freedom involved, while knowing that a “lazy pastor” is not a “listened to pastor.” Our Calvinism still demands a strong work ethic.
Thinking about these things, I’ll share a sharp observation from our morning devotional.
This is the age
Of the half-read page
And the mad dash
With the nerves tight
The plane hop
With the brief stop
The lamp tan
In a short span
The Big Shot
In a good spot
And the brain strain
And the heart pain
And the cat naps
Till the spring snaps
And the fun’s done
Seems contemporary, but was written by Virginia Brasier for a 1949 Saturday Evening Post.
I thought it could cause asking yourself, “Is that me?” It certainly doesn’t describe the life of the Jesus whose birth we’re celebrating.
May the rest He offered and the fullness of life He promised be yours as you serve His family and yours!
– Rev George Vink is the Regional Pastor for Classis Grand Rapids South.