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Church Work is Easy

When I tell people that I work at a church, they usually look at me like, “Oh, isn’t that sweet that he found a nice little job to support his little cute family. It must be wonderful to not have to work hard and be around nice people all day. I bet you pray together without ceasing, right? I wonder if Josh wasn’t bright enough to get a real job?”

Quite frankly, it frustrates the dickens out of me.

“When your faith is your work, you are guaranteed to lose one or both.” I heard that quote in a sermon from Steve Brown several years ago and it stuck with me. I have wrestled through it and don’t know what to do with it, really.

When I tell people that I work at a church, they usually look at me like, “Oh, isn’t that sweet that he found a nice little job to support his little cute family. It must be wonderful to not have to work hard and be around nice people all day. I bet you pray together without ceasing, right? I wonder if Josh wasn’t bright enough to get a real job?”

Quite frankly, it frustrates the dickens out of me. I am not sure if it is because I am insulted that they would think my capabilities are small, or if I am perturbed by the possibly true notion that a lot of people who have been in ministry ended up there because they weren’t “talented” enough to do anything else the marketplace would pay them for.

I grew up in a ministry family. I have never in my life met people who work harder than my father and my Uncle Mark (and my brother Isaac is following suit). Both men are pastors who grew churches from a few people to thousands of people (well, God grew the church, but using their leadership … blah, blah, blah). I watched people walk up to these guys and ask, “So, what do you do all week? Must be nice to just have to put in weekends …” What? These guys get up at 4 a.m. every morning and work until 10 p.m. (fitting in needed family time) and some joker is unaware that they don’t just “hang out” Monday through Saturday?

Of course they were always gracious in their response, but it made me want to tackle people. Yes, it is possible I had an overreaction.

I am glad I got to see that hard work. They gave and still give their best work to God every day. Ministry work can be taxing and if you haven’t been in it, it is hard to know why. I am not convinced you have to lose your faith or your job, but I understand what Steve meant that day. He knows the pressures and the perceptions. The hopes of working with people who won’t fail you that inevitably do. That’s why he’s right unless your focus is only on what God wants from you. Then it doesn’t matter who or what else is in the picture. Just ask my dad and uncle. Oh, wait—they are busy.

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How do you react when someone questions what you do with your time outside of church? Or when someone comments on how “easy” your job must be?

Colossians 3:23-24 (New International Version)

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

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