We have the capacity to enhance our passion in Christian ministry, in our lives, and in our families each day. When I think about how to do this, I think back to my mother.
Though my mother’s life was short (she died before she was 50), she made a big impact on her family and in the community. She had six children; I am the third in order of birth. We were a big family and my paternal grandmother lived with us.
My mother started a clothing store of the best brands of that time. The store grew rapidly, and so did her work and responsibility with the family. She really liked what she did–it showed in her face, in the way she dressed, and in her energy. Surely at the end of the day she was very tired, but we didn’t notice it. I think she was physically tired, but not mentally.
I admire her as someone who planned well. She would think ahead about the next day and always make birthdays, Christmas, and New Years special occasions. I remember my mother, too, in our church services. My mother is an example of how to appreciate each God-given day and how life, family, and Christian ministry can be joyful.
The psychologist Rafael Santandreu writes in his book, The Glasses of Happiness, “The first rule to make life very interesting is to set a high goal that excites us. A good life is to strive, to go to bed tired every night, but having enjoyed the day.” I agree with Santandreu, and I feel this way too about ministry and service to the church.
Studies show that Monday is the most depressing day for pastors. “More and more leaders are experiencing burnout, even those who enjoy regular sabbaticals and vacation periods. Their exhaustion has become more severe, and the discouragement and tiredness reach ‘to the bone,'” according to “The Pastors Aren’t All Right: 38% Consider Leaving Ministry,” in Christianity Today, from November 16, 2021 (online).
This causes me to ask: How do we find a solution to this depressed state of pastors on Monday and other days of the week?
The same Christianity Today article reflects on how the many challenges faced by pastors forces “pastors to find their identity in Christ and not in the perfection of their ministry.”
Pastor Nic Burleson “had to face his own fears related to lack of growth, and he had to remind himself that God’s call in Matthew 25:21 is centered on faithfulness, not success.” These struggles are causing some pastors to lean into their relationship with Jesus and discover new resilience. This too can be part of the fruitfulness and happiness that we create in our ministries.
His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21, NIV).