Divine Waste of Time
I've been actually 'doing ministry' for the past 3 months. I've gotten settled into my first church appointment and getting used to all the 'pastoral' things a pastor does. I'm struggling a bit because for the last 20 years of my life I have been kept occupied with providing evidence of my work. There were papers and tests and the ever popular busy work that teachers used to fill the time in class. Life was simple, do the work --> hand it in --> get graded on it--> repeat. Now I find myself in a situation where I have very little to hand in, but the congregation will still grade me.
How do you count a 3 hour round trip to take communion to someone in a major hospital that asks for it? How does going to the hospital room of person who is sedated and intubated and praying with and for them count? How do I 'submit' the time I spend in meetings and in visiting parishoners in their homes? Yes I can 'produce' some things like Bible studies and sermons that can be quantified and evaluated by an audience, but how do I figure in the 8+ hours a week that are filled with sermon prep.
In the world outside the church my job would rank as one of the most inefficent ones out there. Yet I'm learning in the Kingdom economy that my work has enourmous value. That it isn't a waste of time to go and pray with a person who may never know I am there. That by sitting in the home of a wife grieving the loss of her husband shows she is of great value, that she is worth my time.
Sometimes it is hard for me to work the whole day and not have anything tangible to show for it, no way to prove I am working. But maybe this is what Jesus had in mind when he says what is done in secret is observed by the Father and will be noted in heaven. I'm finding ministry to be a divine waste of time