Ok, let’s be honest, can we do that? Sometimes, life is just too busy. The kids are whining, the dog is barking, the boss is calling, the faucet is leaking, and the computer crashes and you lose all of your data.... all at the exact same time. Things seem to happen that make us want to shout, “SERIOUSLY?! What are the odds?!!” (And not in a wow-I-won-the-lottery kind of way). Some people think that the life of a minister is so laid back (I know, weird, right?). If you are one of those people who think pastors only do any real work on Sundays, slap yourself. Then, buy a plane ticket and come visit me for a few weeks. I’m not saying I’ll work you into the ground.... well, no promises. Suffice it to say life in the ministry can be just as crazy and chaotic as any other field of work.
One of the most important things I’ve learned in ministry is the value of finding a balance. You know, that perfect, harmonious blend of work and family, public and private, planning for the future and living in the present, etc. We hear the term all the time, “Balance your budget.” , “Eat a balanced diet.” , “Balance this coffee mug on your nose.” Ok, maybe not that last one, but You get the idea. We are taught to search diligently for this mysterious balance, which then just becomes another thing to do on our long list of things to do. We finally get a moment to ourselves and we consult our to-do list, which reads something like this:
* Feed the gremlins... I mean, children
* Work on that newsletter
* Prep the message for Sunday service
* Take that college quiz (do not fail)
* Chop up some firewood
* Clean up the yard before it snows
* Change the oil on the vehicles
* Fix the leaking toilet (again)
* Winterize the windows
* Spend time with family
* Talk with church member who needs help
* ...Begin hunt for ever illusive balance
I know, it seems ridiculous, right? However, there is a way to balance your life. Can you guess what it is? I’ll give you a hint, it’s the first thing on my to-do list. Thats right, that pesky thing that our pastors have told us to do our whole life, pray. It’s a simple concept, but it’s not always an easy task. There is a stark difference between the words easy and simple. It’s easy to understand what I mean by “Stop what you’re doing and pray.” It’s just not simple sometimes, is it? It can be difficult to stop the business and ask God to help us with our business. It feels like a waste of time, like we could be doing something instead of asking God to help us do something. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
When we take time to seek God at the beginning of our to-do lists and business, we get a sense of His priorities. We begin to understand what’s really important on that to-do list. And, when we tackle things in the order of God’s priority, He blesses our work, gives us energy, and brings fruitfulness to the project. He needs to be the one in the lead and we need to be the ones trusting Him to lead us. When He’s leading, He will provide everything we need when He wants us to work a little harder. It’s also critical that we are following Him throughout our day, in all of our business, because when He’s telling us to take a break, it’s because taking a break is the best thing for us and for our day. Now, brothers and sisters, I do not say that I have attained all this but, nevertheless, I press on towards the goal to which Christ has put before me (Paul said that... in the Bible).
- Pastor Jeremiah Niemuth