A minister called into my talk show to share his struggles while his wife cared for her dying mother and elderly father. Identifying as a bi-vocational pastor, he commiserated on how to help his wife. It quickly became apparent that his aspiration to help his wife stemmed from his desire to instead be helped by his wife. Interrupting him, I asked: “Who’s doing the laundry?”
Protesting that he held two jobs, I waited for him to realize how poor his excuses sounded out loud.
As his voice trailed off with embarrassment, I bluntly stated, “She’s watching her mother die while caring for her father. She needs to come home to a clean house with laundry that’s washed, folded, and put away. She also needs a well-stocked pantry, a nice meal, and a clean kitchen. While you’re at it, clean the bathroom by her standards not yours, and she needs to sleep in a freshly made bed without the Marvin Gaye music playing—if you know what I mean.”
Boring in, I challenged him further. “If you care for her in this manner without expecting anything in return, you will gain a greater understanding of how our Savior loves His bride. You’ll preach differently, and it will change your congregation—and they in turn will change the community. But it starts with you learning to love and pastor sacrificially in your home.”
Sometimes, the best pastoral training starts in the laundry room.
Similar to the specialization of physicians, the office of minister seems to have decentralized and “pastor” is used more as a noun than verb. All too many view clergy as 20-minute motivational speakers or the ones who baptize, marry, or bury loved ones (Hatch ‘em, Match ‘em, & Dispatch ‘em.) Yet the office of pastor extends far beyond ceremonies and even the pulpit. Pastors get calls in the middle of the night from an individual or family in crisis. Adultery, tragedy, drugs, alcohol, crime—whatever the vice or heartache, a pastor gets the call. Caring for human beings can be complex and painful.
When running for President in 2008, the moderator of a GOP debate asked Governor Mike Huckabee why he was qualified to run for President. Although most by that time clearly knew the Governor’s two-terms in the Arkansas capital (and the moderator even addressed him as “Governor”), Huckabee provide a surprising response.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Peter Rosenberger