Threat to society
Top ten top great things about being in ministry
Irreverent from Rev. magazine
I have in my right hand, direct from my home office in Corn Borer, Indiana, today's category: Top ten great things about being in ministry:
10. You can sleep in on Monday mornings
9. Reading great books is all part of sermon research
8. You can pretty much set your own schedule (except for those 3 am hospital runs)
7. No heavy lifting
6. You can sneak home in the afternoon to "know" your spouse
5. Lunch meetings at Applebees are tax deductable
4. You can attend your kids' school events
3. Surfing the 'net is all part of sermon research
2. Going to local theater productions and community concerts is considered pastoral care
1. Life is never routine
Let the record show, I love routine, but don't want to marry it.
For instance, complete and total routine would be retiring to Brooksville, Florida, (my denomination's elephant burial ground) where people play shuffle board and feed squirrels twelve hours a day. Or worse, the local nursing home: "Are we ready for our sponge bath today, Mr. Watkins?" "It's time for us to go to our arts and crafts class, Mr. Watkins." "Mmm. We're having pureed prunes and oatmeal for our lunch today, Mr. Watkins."
But I do love the routine of September. Church members are back in the pews after an extended time of "worshipping God in His great Creation" AKA "Moose Breath Lake and Lodge." The PKs are back in school and we have the parsonage back to a lower level of noise and insanity. And church life shifts from VBS, church camps, softball playoffs, and outdoor services back into a comfortable, relaxed routine.
Summers have always been filled with my playing the part of "Bob the Tomato" in the VeggieTales-themed VBS, trying to look interested at the weekly church softball game (I'm not a fan of spectator sports or splintered bleachers), moving sound equipment out onto the church lawn for the annual outdoor service and picnic, and of course the semi-annual trip to the in-laws (which by no stretch of semantics constitutes a "vacation"), I think I might have had five productive days from June through August.
But it is more exciting and satisfying than looking forward to BINGO or having my toenails trimmed a week from next Tuesday at the nursing home!
Maybe that's why I'd much rather be in ministry than any other field.
I worked four summers between college terms at Kelloggs performing mind-numbing routines that trained chimpanzees could easily accomplish. Eight hours of putting raisins in Raisin Bran was enough for me to actually look forward to the fall and Greek class!
I've also worked between pastorates as a truck driver, construction worker and door-to-door encyclopedia salesman. All of those tasks had mind-numbingand in the case of truck driver, bum-numbingroutines.
But, there's never routine in ministry.
One day you're celebrating the birth of baby, the next day you're back in the same hospital comforting a family who just lost their 96-year-old father. One day you're in you're grubbiest clothes crawling around in the church attic running mic cables, the next day you're in your Sunday-best enjoying the worship band and the new sound system. One day you're confused by the UPS driver as the custodian as you mow the church lawn, the next day you're the "honored" guest speaker at a local seminary.
Each day has its up and downs, schedules and surprises, but never ever "routine." That's why I've decided to "carpe diem" which means either "be killed by a really ugly fish" or "seize the day."
So, I'm going to enjoy the brief respite between the church softball schedule and calendar-expander known as Advent. I think I'll take the afternoon off to get reacquainted with my wife.
James' routine includes getting up early to read Scripture, journal and consume large quantities of Diet Coke
before getting to work writing and speaking at conferences.
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