Two years ago I nearly ditched the pastorate. I started focusing on the negatives of my job: the draining, Saturday-night sermon-anxiety attacks, a pitiful raise, the disintegrating basement tiles in the parsonage ("Don't worry," the trustees assured, "we'll get to it within three years."). Finally, as the financial secretary again bellyached about the church's money woes ("This is it, folks, we're really in trouble this time. Ya, you betcha ya, it looks grim. The ship is sinking for sure … ), I silently prayed, Here am I, Lord. Send me to Cancun.
I desperately wanted to escape people. Needy people. Petty people. Dysfunctional people. Spiritually obtuse church people. Moses' prayer became my own: "Lord, why do you treat your servant so badly? I'm getting sick and tired of carrying these whiners on my back. If this is how you treat your employees, then I'll work for someone else" (my paraphrase of Numbers 11:11-15).
After eight years of frantically meeting needs, pleasing people, and ...1