Monday, August 28, 2006

My Unusual Life

Last Tuesday's Bible class has had a significant impact on my approach to my work. The pastor was teaching on Ecclesiastes, ch 12:9,10 and he was exegeting the words in the phrase "the teacher pondered, searched out and arranged many proverbs." From that he said this:

"A pastor lives a very unusual life. He is called upon to ponder, to be sharp mentally, to weigh words carefully, to concentrate. Being sharp mentally and able to concentrate, in particular come from his gift and from being filled with the Holy Spirit. But it is a tedious and exhausting exercise to continually read and concentrate.

"His life is words, his world is words. He searches for just the right words, arranges them together in just the right way, thinks things through, and fits them alongside other sets of words. What is the best way to put this so the majority of his congreagation understands? People need to be fed solid food, and good teaching, day in and day out doesn't come from shooting from the hip. It comes from daily deep study.

"Thus the pastor cannot allow anything to take the place of his personal study. He can't afford to spend time on visiting, fixing the devil's world, counseling, getting involved, and personally encouraging people. His job is to investigate and to teach. To arrange and compose. To say what needs to be said. This is how he will encourage people. "It is not desirable for pastors to neglect the word so they can take care of people's problems." God the Holy Spirit has given the gift of encouragement and helps to others. Pastors are to "devote themselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word." (Acts 6:2b,4)"

When I heard this message God the Holy Spirit impressed upon me how much this is like the writing life. My life. My calling is also to work in the world of words. I, too, am to search for just the right words, arrange them together in just the right way, think things through, fit them alongside other sets of words, and figure out what is the best way to put something so the majority of my readers understand or have the response that I intend. Part of my problem has been that when it's not easy I want to wander off and do something else. Recalling that the pastor faces the same temptations and cannot afford to give in has helped me to see that I can't either. My gift, like every other gift in the Body of Christ, is as important as the Pastor's. Pursuing it is a serious calling upon my life.

And my gift is to write, not to be out trying to function in some other believer's gift, like, for example, trying to encourage people personally. My encouraging of other people will come mostly through my writing. That is my calling. Nor should I be out trying to sell my work. Again, that is a function that lies with others, as God moves them. My focus is to be on the work that I've been called to do. To be who God has made me to be, and to live my life as unto Him.

And that is what I intend to do.