Pastors who wake up on Mondays face a unique reality. We are coming of a time where we have worked hard the previous week in the study. The preparation culminates on Sunday morning as the sermon is delivered. In the aftermath we are humbled and encouraged; humbled because of our preaching and encouraged because of God’s sovereignty. But overall, much of the time, we feel good because we worked hard.
Now it’s Monday. And you feel, well, helpless. What can you do? Can you call up individuals and give application questions, or have them restate your proposition, main points and fallen condition focus? Unlikely (and unrecommended.) We are in that familiar spot of weakness. We so want people to get it but feel so limited in how to make them get it.
This pastoral tension just seems right. It seems healthy. I don’t want to know what I would feel like on Monday without it. It is the perfect way to start the week of shepherding, studying, praying and planning.
The discomfort, the uneasiness drives you to pray. It drives pastors to pray that God would indeed water his word. That he would do what only he can do: make people see, hear, taste, and enjoy the greatness of God through the word preached. We pray that he would do that even through the word that we preached.
Through the week we as pastors should work hard in the study. In one sense, we should work like the church’s spiritual growth depends on us (work hard). But at the same time, during the week and after the sermon we should pray. We should pray like we can’t do anything (pray hard).
This balance of work and prayer refreshes and refocuses us. As pastors we have to work. And we must pray. If we don’t pray our work should be questioned and if we don’t work our praying should be questioned.
Monday has come again. I have worked hard last week, praying and preparing. I worked hard yesterday preaching God’s word. Now I wake up today and am reminded that it is God that gives the increase (1 Cor. 3.6-7). He DOES give the increase. He has grown his people and He will continue to grow his people. And, to be humbled and encouraged again, he will continue to do it through means. The means in the local church are often times through a praying, hard working, faithful pastor. This exercise has a way of revealing pride and fostering humility. And I think that sounds about right.