The senior pastor of the church I attended in Korea when I was a young Christian used to say that he felt elated when he heard about wonderful things happening to his church members, as if it were his own doing, and devastated and when things went wrong with them, as if it were his fault. When I heard this, I questioned its validity.
Since I’ve been serving as acting senior pastor, the greatest change I’ve experienced has been that I’m now really getting to know, little by little, the life of our congregation. Before, I had only experienced life in the States as an expatriate employee of a Korean company. Now I get a sense of the kind of life our congregation members live. With that, I’ve developed a strong desire to pray for our congregation from deep within me. Since Pastor Chai already has a list of our congregation’s family prayer requests, and since the congregation has access to urgent prayer requests, I decided to start out by praying for shepherds after each Wednesday Service, concentrating on the prayer request they submit and update each month. And as I pray for them, I find myself in tears. Many have problems with their businesses and other formidable issues. My heart goes out to them and I feel bad that I enjoy peace while others are suffering. I pray that I might not be someone who just echoes the basics of “trust in the Lord” to those who have urgent issues at hand.
But from time to time, after praying for more than a month, I hear that some prayers have been answered. When I hear news like this, tears of joy stream down my face. But when I give a prayer of thanksgiving, I find myself immediately moving on to another prayer request, imploring God to answer quickly and surely. To me, being a pastor means living an odd life, smiling with good news on one side but simultaneously wearing a worried look from news on the other side.
The Apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 11:28: “Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches.” I’ve now begun to understand why Paul, who gladly served the Lord throughout his life and told us not to worry, said this. There is joy in serving and learning in the Lord, but I’ve begun to sympathize with Paul as I find myself worrying and praying fervently for the betterment of the lives of our congregation. I guess I am starting to become a “Pastor.”
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