Security, professional and political, may be the biggest obstacle for pastors. This security can lead to complacency, which is often a forerunner to apathy. Pastors, including myself, or just a few steps away from ministry death when we begin to worry about ourselves, our futures, or even our families at the expense of our ministries.
Here is our problem: We are so in love with our paychecks, our parsonages and our pensions that we often cannot do what is right.
- We need our paychecks. We worry about our employment and how we are going to make ends meet. We become consumed with all the same concerns that every other human faces. How will we pay the bills? Keep food on the table? Put gas in the car? Maybe even, keep up with the Joneses? When we are so concerned with the day to day and week to week issues of keep our heads above water, it is hard to keep our eyes on Jesus.
- We need our parsonages. I do not make enough money to make a mortgage payment. If there were no parsonage I don't know what I would do. I like my parsonage. It is large enough, adequate enough, comfortable enough and nice enough to keep me satisfied. And I need it. I need a place to live and to raise my family. God help me, though, when I become too needy, too worried about where I will live.
- We need our pensions. In my denomination, retirement from ministry is mandatory at age 70. I plan to live at least 10 years beyond that. I am going to need some money to live on. I need to keep my job so that my future can be secure. But it would be pathetic if I got so dependent on the prospect of that pension that I lost my prophetic voice in the meantime.
Sometimes I just need to remember some things that Jesus taught. He said not to worry about tomorrow. He said that he would meet my needs. May the Lord help all of us to be completely reliant on Him all the time.