I had a great lunch today with an old friend. He started out in ministry, went into full-time business, and is now considering a return to full-time ministry. We were talking about how ministry has a tendency to either attract lazy people or turn good people into lazy people. At many churches, the pastor supervises himself and can set his own hours. If the pastor is not intentional about working hard, it’s very easy to hardly work. If the pastor is not a self-starter, there is no supervisor or boss at hand to “encourage” them to get busy.
On the other extreme, is the pastor who becomes a workaholic — eventually doing damage to his family, himself, and his ministry. These pastors can do unnecessary damage to themselves and others. I certainly am all for giving one’s best to God … but we must be careful not to justify hidden or buried motives under the guise of “serving God.”
Somewhere in the middle (and more towards the workaholic) lies the answer. I’ve always viewed my salary as a sacred trust invested in me by the church I’m serving. As with any profession, one should work at with all his or her heart because in the end, you’re serving God and not man. A pastor should not complain about evening meetings when most of the volunteers who come do so after leaving work.
My buddy will do well in either ministry or business because he has a healthy drive to do well. Of all callings and professions, pastors ought to be the most driven because we are dealing in matters of eternal consequence.
May God give us the balance we need, a healthy perspective, and a good bit of fun.