Monday, July 18, 2016

"It Only Hurts On Monday"

I thank God for encouragers. God, in His great mercy, always sees fit to send a Barnabas our way when we need one.

Thamer Calhoun is a personal Barnabas of mine. Now, Thamer is a real character.  He's an old Marine.  He's rough around the edges. He'll kind of remind you of Grumpy the Dwarf, only taller. He's tough. Quick to tell you what's on his mind. He's got an opinion on everything, and he'll share that opinion with you at the drop of a hat.  He'll even supply the hat!

He's a little scary at first encounter, but once a fellow comes to know Calhoun, one understands that under that gruff exterior beats a heart of gold.  He loves God. He loves his church.  And he loves his pastor.

Thamer is not the only encourager in our church, but he regularly comes by the office to check on me and often has prayer with me before he leaves.

Several years ago, Thamer came across a book entitled, "It Only Hurts On Monday: Why Pastors Quit And What You Can Do About It" by Dr. Gary L. McIntosh and Dr. Robert L. Edmondson. Thamer gave me a copy of that book when I first came to this church He told me that he had read it, and he was going to do everything within his power to keep me from being discouraged.  For every new Deacon we ordain, Thamer gives them a copy of this book. He encourages them to read it and to take it to heart.  He tells them all, "We need to pray for our Preacher".

Now that is an encourager!

Fact of the matter is that pastors DO get discouraged from time to time, and Monday is always a prime opportunity.  Every pastor understands that.  You work all week, reading, studying, praying, and preparing that message (or messages and Sunday School lessons sometimes as well). By the time Sunday is over, you are spent.  But beside what is expected of us in our teaching and preaching ministry, there is often an outpouring of other "stuff" on Sundays. "Crises" large and small often are brought to our attention - sometimes just before worship service. Sunday is often a grueling day for pastors.

That is why so many pastors take a day off on Monday. The book quotes one pastor as saying, "I always feel lousy on Monday.  That's why I work on Monday because if I'm gonna feel lousy, I'll do it on church time - NOT on my day off!"

I usually work on Monday, myself, but not for that reason.  There are usually a number of issues I followup on that have popped up on the Lord's Day.  I feel more comfortable getting those things addressed and following up on visitors, etc. while all is still fresh on my mind.  I try to take a day off later in the week when I can.

Another great encourager of Pastors whom I know is Joe McKeever.  Joe has been a pastor much of his adult life, and had served as a Director of Missions (and sort of a pastor to pastors) in the Greater New Orleans ares for a number of years.  Like Barnabas of the Church at Antioch, Joe is a true "Son of Consolation".  I am thankful to have met Joe personally and I so appreciate his blog and the daily cartoons he draws for Baptist Press.

Today, Joe posted the following list to Facebook and every pastor should be able to relate.  But you don't have to be a pastor to get a kick out of this post!

Hope it gives you a chuckle - and hope you have a tolerable Monday!

1) The threat of being fired sounds great! 

2) You visit patients in the hospital and envy them. 

3) Your goal for today is to get through it without serious damage. 

4) People ask if you've been sick and you answer, "Not yet." 

5) A senior runs by the church to bring you a chocolate pie--your favorite--and you try to avoid her. 

6) The personnel committee offers you a six-week sabbatical and you turn it down because you can't make a decision on what to do with all that time. 

7) You don't recall all the words to "Jesus Loves Me." 

8) You make an extra effort to attend denominational meetings guaranteed to be boring just so you can get some rest. 

9) Your nighttime prayer is "Lord, I'm tired. Amen." And ...

10) along about the time you begin to recover from last Sunday, it hits you that another Sabbath is on its way and today is Thursday. God bless you, preacher!

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