Religion

4/10 FAITH MATTERS: Pastors are people, too

I know quite a few pastors, being one myself.

Spoiling popular stereotypes, the pastors I know are not money or power hungry. They are not child molesters, sex fiends, or hate mongers.

The pastors I know are just ordinary people who love God and care about others. They are not superheroes or supervillains. Just ordinary.

We laugh and play and we struggle and worry. We wrestle with doubt and we question our calling. We own houses and we wonder how to pay the bills.

We tell jokes and play games. And we make mistakes. Many of them.

We have our favorite sports teams, and we often get our priorities confused. And when we do, we are filled with sorrow.

We don’t know it all. We agonize over how to handle the Bible and how to handle people who are making terrible mistakes. We try to manage prosperity with humility, but more often we wrestle with the self-doubt of failure.

We have families whom we love, but we get angry. We sin against them and have to ask their forgiveness. We are ordinary people.

Most of us pastor small congregations. Our hearts are easily broken. We are hurt when people leave, we laugh and rejoice when people come.

We work six days a week, sometimes more. Some of us work multiple jobs. We make house calls. We will be with you at 3 a.m. if the need calls for it. We will stand with you when some great pain has entered your life. We’ll hold your hand.

And we will fail you. We will forget to call you. We will forget to pay a visit to you in the hospital. We will make decisions that you think are wrong. We will get angry when we shouldn’t. We will be passive when we should make a stand. You will wonder what is wrong with us.

What is wrong with us is that we are ordinary people. We do not breathe purified air. We do not claim a greater measure of God’s favor. In fact, we carry a greater burden of responsibility before him and that weighs heavily on us.

The pastors I know don’t want either pity or special recognition. They will take, however, with great joy, the news that you pray for God’s blessing upon them as they are: mere people with extraordinary responsibility. They will thank you.

Rev. Randy Greenwald, senior pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church, 4455 30th St. E., Bradenton, writes a blog at somberanddull.blogspot.com. For more information about the church, visit www.gohope.net. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday’s Herald, written by local clergy members.

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