“I can’t find enough to do.” “I’d rather burn out than rust out.”
“What do I do with all my spare time?”
“I am burning myself out in this work.”
“What should a preacher do during his daytime hours?”
“You can’t build the church during the day, so you have to work every night.”
“A preacher needs to spend his time at night with his family.”
“I’m so busy visiting hospitals that I don’t have time to study.”
“If you see me visiting a hospital, it means somebody is about to die!”
“I spend most of my time in my office studying.”
“I spend most of my time in my office counseling.”
“I spend most of my time out of my office being involved in the lives of members.”
“I spend most of my time being involved in the community.”
“I don’t work for the church, I work for the Lord.”
During more than thirty years of preaching we’ve heard all of the above statements and more from preachers about their schedules.
There may be a few who are complaining, there may be a few who are bragging, but most of these statements are from the heart of wonderful men of God.
Some are genuinely searching for answers; answers about what we should be doing and how we can do it better. Allow me to offer just a few suggestions.
And by the way, please offer your own comments and suggestions. Our prayer is that God will let us use “Preacher’s Notes” as a forum for the exchange of ideas as well as a place where we can encourage one another.
FULFILL YOUR MINISTRY. “plērophoreō.” This is Paul’s closing admonition to his young protégé in 2 Timothy 4:5. It means, “to make full, to cause something to be shown as full, to fulfill the ministry in every part.”
Sometimes we act surprised that we are so busy, but we should be busy. Jesus was about His Father’s business! And so should we be about the Father’s business.
This work of preaching and ministry is not for the lazy or the faint of heart. And yes, we should all want to wear ourselves out for the Lord.
But let’s be careful that we don’t wear ourselves out before our time. Let’s find the balance that will allow us to be forceful and useful tools for our Lord for many years!
FOLLOW THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS. I’m speaking here of following the example of Jesus when it comes to caring for others. It is heartbreaking to hear a preacher say I don’t visit hospitals or get involved in the lives of the people just because I’m a preacher.
First, what’s wrong with doing it just because we are preachers? That statement betrays a heart and an attitude that isn’t a godly example.
Second, and more importantly, how about visiting hospitals and getting involved in the lives of people because we are Christians?! And because we love people and care about people?!!
Let’s reread Philippians 2 and Luke 9:11 as we seek to develop the mind of our Savior.
An additional thought here. Follow the Lord’s example when it comes to spending time in prayer. He often spoke with His Father, and we should never cease doing the same!
FOCUS ON YOUR FAMILY. Many a man of God has so involved himself in the lives of others that he forgot about his own family.
We’ve all heard the joke about the PK who wrote on the attendance card that they would like a visit from the minister! Unfortunately, for some it’s not a joke.
Our families need us. Our wives and children need our time. They need our attention. They need our energy. They need our love. It will bless them. And it will bless us.
FIND SOME TIME TO RELAX . Even the Creator took a day for rest. Yes, I know, a handful of folks will make snide remarks about you working just one day a week, etc.
But in time, if you do your work those remarks will go away. Church members, including good elders will come to appreciate how much you do for the cause of our Lord.
They will encourage you to take care of yourself, not to work yourself to death, to spend some time resting. Those are the voices you should hear, and of course the voice of the Lord who tells us to take care of ourselves.
Relaxing, whether it’s playing golf, fishing, reading, writing, doing nothing, it will help you, it will make you a better preacher, a better husband, a better father, a better friend, and a better man.
FELLOWSHIP WITH OTHER PREACHERS. Find a friend or friends who preach and spend time with them. No one knows or understands our lives better than other preachers. We need each other brothers.
One of the greatest blessings in my life is other preachers. Some who are older, some who are younger, and some who are my peers. I wouldn’t trade the precious time I have with them for anything.
If you are busy, thank God for the many wonderful opportunities He brings into your life. If you are not, find new ways to be about the Father’s business. In the mean time, spend as much time as possible growing in the Word and building your family as well as relationships with others.
Thank God for your life and your work. Now go out there and be a blessing to others!
Thank You Father for giving us life and breath and all things. Thank You for filling our lives with opportunities, with family, with people. Help us to always be about Your business. Help us dear Lord to count our blessings every day as we serve You. In the Name of our Savior we pray, Amen.