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Sunday, January 1, 2017

Why I Love Pastors, But Hate Being One

John Graham Lake was an outstanding preacher who he spent a good portion of his life in South Africa. He was once attending to a church member who had terminal cancer and no matter how much he prayed, the woman's condition only worsened. One day, moved by the pains that ravaged this woman, he prayed for her all through the night. According to his account, he only left around 5am, bleary-eyed, to get some sleep and refresh himself. As he was  washing his face however, a runner came from the sick woman to ask him to please come over quickly. The woman was in severe bouts of pains. Pastor Graham Lake said he ran all the way there and from a few blocks away heard the victims agonising cries. He said at that point he found himself crying too and running. He bust into the room and scooped the frail woman into his arms, crying and praying God for mercy. Such was the compassion that seized him. He said the next thing he knew was that the woman's pains subsided and that was the end of the cancer.
‎I respect pastors for the work they do in serving people. Some go through pains and make sacrifices for people to levels you won't believe. You hear more about the bad parts chiefly because a single error from a moral teacher of a saintly bent will hug the headlines more than a thousand good he might have done - human nature, when left to run wild will rather talk about the bad you do. But while you went to a hot lunch after the service on Sunday and later drove your family to a cool park for fun, he stayed back to listen to people and see how he might help them or get God's help for them. He tried to mend frail marriages, to comfort the grieving, give hope to those in despair, he visited the sick and kept in mind the difficulties of others. He prays. He agonises over those who miss the way. He loves them and does something they see and are touched. He spends long hours trying to settle petty quarrels and mend relationships.  Passer-by sometimes walk into a church, ask for the pastor and narrate to him how they need just money for lunch. Many times he has to do something, sometimes something personal and costly. He wont turn a blind eye when a member's child is thrown out of school for fees. Some of the times he helps out with hospital bills. He manages teenage problems and grapples with moral let-downs of sorts from members. He is the real estate agent for his member, the marriage counsellor per excellence, he is expected to hear from God, he is expected, as well as his wife and children, to be faultless. He has to take the shorter end of the stick and go away cheated many times to preserve reverence for the name of God. Have you ever seen him go on leave? Hardly. He gets knocks on his door at five in the morning from those in need of help. He sleeps late attending to those who linger. There are times you feast that he has to fast, he must stay up to prepare the Bible Study outline or pray for the church and for individuals. Most of the time, it is sacrifices he makes all the way, and when he suddenly decides to give himself and his family a treat, he is looked at coyly and criticised. Everybody complains to him, but he must never utter a word word complaint to anyone.   ‎
I know a pastor who took up a member from secondary school and supported him all the way through the university even while he struggled with his personal finances and his wife criticised him. An extraordinary man, he drove around this country all his life until his 70s, helping people, preaching, taking pains with the needs of others, praying. He died last year. I know pastors who took in homeless members. Some got robbed and cheated because they allowed people to get close, in trying to help them. They are servant of servants and it is God's special gift to them even as they are special gifts to their churches and communities.‎
Pastors face a lot of troubles for the sake of their work. If anyone who goes by the title gets into a scandal, the good pastor is made to pay since he will be tarnished immediately. A stain sticks so fast and is so outstanding on white clothing.
It is painful to know that many things said about pastors today are negative, but it doesn't mean there are no good ones still in the work and serving faithfully. Let us be mindful of them and their feelings if we must criticise the ones who do wrong. I have been blessed by a good number of honest pastors who helped me and continue to do so and I have tremendous respect and affection for them. I believe you have met one or two also. Let them know you appreciate them also and remember to pray for them.
Pastors are human beings - imperfect human beings. They also have fears and doubts and suffer like the rest of mankind. One of the hazards of their job is that they are so often away from their families and they do pray a price for that especially by their children getting enstranged or their wives becoming distant. It causes complications for them and the effect may be things that make uncaring people say, "Just look at his children", and hiss. If you understand their situation, you will rather pray and try to see how you can help them. Try a little to see what you can contribute to them to ease their burden, not make it worse by emphasising the areas where they failed. ‎

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