Preaching and teaching. It’s the most important and stressful part of my job. Compared to the pressure of sermon preparation and delivery on Sunday – which is a deadline that comes every seven days – everything else I do is easy. Compared to the pressure of speaking about 50 weekends a year and facing a highly educated, successful group of congregants, some of whom have been listening to me for fifteen years, the organizational part of what I do is stress-free. The only way I can pull it off successfully is to be extremely disciplined in my study habits, being a diligent student of the Word, and managing my time with ferocity.
But at the same time it’s an honor. How incredible it is that I get to stand up and proclaim God’s Word to the church. No one is more aware of our unworthiness than we preachers and pastors are. It’s no small thing to presume to speak for God. And yet God chooses to use us. It’s a high calling. I hope I never get over it. I hope I never get over the wonder of knowing that based upon the words that come out of my mouth, people make decisions, and the direction of their lives change.
When people say, “Don’t preachers only work one day a week?” here’s my comeback. I say, “Imagine the most stressful part of your job, the part of your job that can make-or-break you financially. Imagine having to do that every single week on a stage in front of your family, friends, strangers, people who judge you, people who analyze you, people who critique every word you say, and people who dislike you. Imagine not having the option of calling in sick or getting to reschedule because you weren’t quite ready yet for the presentation.” End of conversation.