When faced with the routine (and some not routine) challenges of being a pastor, a certain pastor friend of mine is fond of saying, "Ministry is a grind." And he's right. Ministry is a long-haul vocation. It's not one that tends to provide immediate gratification. And it tends to weary you, to wear you down and tire you out over a period of time.
Let's be honest and up-front: people are sinners. Their lives are messy. They deal with each other in messy ways. Even the best people still struggle with wanting to do good but choosing evil (or ease) instead, and they get weary. And since pastors are people, too, that means pastors are subject to messy lives of their own. Add to that the burden of an intense vocation that is often relationally enmeshed, and the weariness that dealing with messy lives and messy people produces is magnified. Pastors just plain get worn down.
But another friend of mine has a saying, too. He likes to say, “I’ve read the end of the Book, and I know how it all turns out.” He means that we can cling to God’s promises, because He is faithful and true and what He says, He does. So the church will prevail in spreading her message of grace and salvation in Jesus Christ. God’s Word will continue to work repentance and faith in the hearts of those who hear it. Sin and messy lives will one day no longer wear us down. I know this is true, because God has promised it. So I don’t worry about what may happen in the future. I know how the Book ends.
So, yeah. Ministry is a grind. Pastors get weary. For that matter, I’m weary right now, this moment. But I’m not worried. God has promised good things, refreshing things, eternal things, both to me and to His Church. He will deliver on those promises in His time. There’s no doubt in my mind.
And I just discovered something: In the knowledge of that promise, I’ve just found that I’m not nearly as weary as I thought I was. God is good . . . all the time.