Every leader hits those moments where he or she feels pressed, weary, and at times manipulated. I ran into it Monday. First, I am mentally stretched. I need you to know that. I have a few plates spinning, just as you do. So, you know the feeling of don't look at me wrong, I may break.
Monday a lady called. She is a member at Memorial but not one person, not one elder, not one staff member other than me knows this woman. She does not engage in the church family and hasn't over the last twenty years. She called expressing her husband (whom I have never seen) is having heart failure and needs to see me in the hospital now.
I told her he is a most valuable man, but I couldn't do it. Knowing the importance of this man and the situation I told her I had four other very capable men on staff and I would send one immediately. She curtly replied, No. He wants to see you. I explained I just couldn't get there; yet I understood the urgency and would send someone now. She said, Tomorrow will be all right and I reluctantly, guiltily agreed.
After hanging up I realized tomorrow is just like today....still packed. I called back and left a message on her cell phone saying, Friend, I tried to say it earlier, I just can't get there. But your man is very important. I will send one of the other men to see him. She called my secretary and said, Tell Terry we will find a minister who cares.
Such digs sting....deeply. You go through it. I encourage you about something I saw Jesus do. No flesh and blood told me. I saw Jesus do it. I saw him once heal every kind of disease in a local community. It reached a point where he was spent by the Father and he began to retreat to escape the crowds. They were still pressing in on him. He turned his back, got into a boat, and rowed away. He couldn't do it---for the moment---anymore. He walked away from continued and important healing opportunities for he was flesh and blood fatigued.
My job here is to keep smiling, keep loving, keep caring, and maintain the permission that I know when my spirit is running on empty and I must not try to minister to every person regardless of their demands and insults. Don't let guilt be your motive for ministry. Trust God that while you can't be everywhere, He knows those who can.
Keep in mind you are a vital part of His body....but you are not the whole body. God has other (many other) capable men and women to assist in important service. Neither are you the savior of the community. You are one who is connected to The Savior.
Romans 9:16...(it is not up to man to organize but up to God in His mercy).....once again....keeps me wildly enthused about ministry after all of these years. Being a minister is like being on vacation all the time. However, it takes discipline to maintain the joy level decade after decade. Refuse to let those who are selfish or simply don't understand take over the helm of your ship. The waves sometimes stack high. It gets tough....but is always manageable because of Jesus who runs the show and not us who wish we could please all the people.