When you focus on something, you tend to see it everywhere!
“People tend to think spies are motivated by love of the game, desire for adventure, or patriotic fervor. The truth though, is that you don’t choose a life as a covert operative unless something deeper is going on beneath the surface. Something more personal, something harder to explain, and something a lot more painful.” ~Michael Weston, Burn Notice: Season 5, Episode 5.
The truth about the ministry is that many times very well meaning and good hearted ministers are asked to counsel, encourage, and support people who might be better served in other settings. There are times when legal advice, financial aptitude, and even police protection are needed but the pastor is the first person contacted. This makes the ministerial profession a challenging arena that should be avoided by everyone seeking to gain prestige, power, or a platform to sell books. Even when these characteristics accompany the function, they are always buffered by the midnight calls from hysterical parents in a hospital emergency room praying their child lives to see the dawn, the cries of an abused spouse who’s walked barefoot in snow to seek help, and the frenetic disorder of lives ripped asunder by any number of unpredictable circumstances.
I have served in three local churches for over two decades (never as the focal leader, but often in pastoral function) and I have seen things that are best reserved for the movies. People tend to think that ministers will believe anything, but the opposite is true. Most are astute at detecting deception, from years of hearing lies. It is important to note that none of us is near perfect, and we would do better to expect humanity rather than divinity when seeking ministerial support. Ministry functions to direct us to the divine, not to embody Christian refinement while scrutinized 24/7. There are always deeper issues, deeper reasons why people serve in the priesthood or in the ministry, and often it’s personal. Don’t be surprised if you’re disappointed somewhere along the way, but realize that people fall from pedestals because we placed them there.