“He (God) took David from tending the ewes and lambs and made him shepherd of Jacob’s descendants…he (David) cared for them with a true heart and led them with skillful hands.” Psalm 78:71-72
It is interesting to me to hear people urging pastors to “get a real job” instead of living in a Christian bubble. I marvel at this, especially in light of the fact that God himself chose servants like David, to shepherd his people. I would never ask my doctor if he has a back up plan in case things don’t work out, or the local contractor if he knows how to pull a clean shot of espresso “just in case you can’t make ends meet.” Rather than getting a real job, I think pastors need to take seriously the real job they have already been given, and do it with excellence.
To be a pastor is more than just a job or a title, it’s a calling from God. I believe God chose me to shepherd his people long before I ever chose to go to Bible College or seminary. At times I wish I could remove the calling and passion for the church that I have, but it’s unshakable. This is not to say that I would lose this heart if I were no longer in full-time (paid) ministry. I just would not have the luxury of the time and effort to encourage people in their journey of faith like I do now. Times of transition have proven to me that my desire to lead and shepherd God’s people only grows. I have a shepherd-heart; it isn’t diminished by a lack of title or church position. Every day I meet with people from all walks of life, training them in the scriptures and praying for them in their greatest need. How is this not real? How is offering Christ’s hope to a grieving family not real? How is equipping God’s people to do his work (Galatians 4:12) not real? I think our view of real needs a biblical change…
To be a pastor is much more than a degree on the wall or a Rev. in front of your name-it’s a heart attitude. David cared for Israel with a ‘true heart.’ Unfortunately, I see a lot of pastors spending more time wondering what they might do if the ministry gig doesn’t work than they do digging in with people who need Christ most. As a generalist, I am all for learning new skills, but not at the cost of diminishing my pastoral calling. I want to live up to the high standard set by people like David, who led with integrity and skillfulness of their hands. I am trying to constantly improve through courses, reading, conferences and regular check-ups with other leaders to make sure I’m on the right track. I would expect the same from my GP, and I know God expects that of me.
Get a real job? No thanks. I already have one.