At the reception following my ordination years ago, an older woman approached me and said, "It's a wonderful thing you are doing, young man, giving up all the pleasures of life to serve the Lord."
I don't remember how I responded—probably something pastoral like, "Thank you very much." But her comment stayed with me. I had the uneasy feeling she knew something about ministry I didn't, and I sometimes wish that I had asked which pleasures she had in mind.
Have I really given up "all the pleasures of life to serve the Lord"? She still makes me ask, Why am I a pastor?
Not long ago I celebrated both a milestone ordination anniversary and a milestone birthday (one with a zero in it, and that's all I'll say about it). My thoughts turned—quite naturally for men my age—to sports cars, and so on a day off I went to a car dealership and drove a used BMW with low mileage that was in my price range—that is, the price of a new American car. I hadn't been so ...1