In last Sunday’s sermon, I quoted Jesus in saying that anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and that anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. Later that night, one of our deacons posted on our website that he had become a beneficiary of the sermon. A couple from his house church received baptism during the worship service. To celebrate, they all went to a restaurant. But after the meal, the couple insisted on footing the bill themselves because of my sermon. He ended his post with a remark: please give us an opportunity to take you out for dinner so that we can share your rewards in heaven.
When we started our house churches there were only 23 shepherds. I made it a habit to rotate through the shepherds and take one out for lunch every other week. This became impossible as the number of house churches increased and my ministries expanded. I try to set aside Mondays and Tuesdays to have lunch with church members or visitors. But all my recent Mondays and Tuesdays have been spent interviewing shepherd candidates. There are many candidates to interview because many shepherds have moved. In the past, it was my practice to take visiting missionaries or pastors to lunch but even that is no longer possible.
It’s also affecting my day of rest. I translate my Pastor’s Corner into English in the morning and prepare for the Sunday sermon in the afternoon. Then I check and reply to email, visit the section of our website for church staff, deacons, and pastors, and respond. After this, most of the day is gone. But I still feel rested because I get 1 to 2 more hours of sleep and working from home seems to give me less stress.
I’m busier primarily because the house church movement is expanding. Even though many people – including the Church Manager Kwang Park, the Director for House Church Ministries, the Director for the Missions Department and our ministry team leaders – take care of most ministries, there are certain things I must do myself, for example email, where I have to write between 30 and 50 messages a day. The other day I found my old library card and it reminded me of a time when I had enough free time to read for enjoyment. It seems like a long time ago.
Despite my busy-ness I am happy. After all, it’s not just me; everybody is busy. I feel fortunate to be busy with things that last forever. If I die of overwork, I think that God would consider it a martyr’s death. With this hope, I do my utmost to do the Lord’s work regardless of my physical condition.