The School Year and the Church Year

I dropped off my children for the first day of school today.  This year I have a daughter in 3rd grade, and a daughter in Kindergarten.  But I can't talk about that or I might cry.

The elementary school was electric with energy as I walked my youngest to her class.  Teachers were excited, kids were running around, some people looked lost too!  I could tell the teachers were looking forward to a new year, and the kids were too.  I grew up with a father for a teacher, a principal actually, so I'm familiar with the excitement.  The school year starts off strong and follows a predictable schedule. Fall Break, Thanksgiving, Christmas break, and on into the spring semester.  But more than anything, a school year is pushing towards a goal.  A qualifiable, tangible goal: to teach children and move them on to the next grade.  I know teachers do much more than that, but that simplifies it.  And even beyond the goal, a school year has an end in sight.  There's a beginning of the year, middle, and end.  To break it down even farther, each semester has a beginning and end, down to even every day.

It was great to see how excited the teachers and kids were this morning.  As I got in my car and left for the church, I thought about my work week, work year, and work day.  My clear goal as a pastor is to move people into relationship with Christ, with each other, and to grow deeper in that knowledge of God everyday.  This past Sunday we baptized two elementary students to mark their recent decisions for Christ.  But I cannot rest thinking that know I can check them off a list, as if the work God is doing in them is done.  Or even that my work in proclaiming the gospel to them is done.  A pastor's work schedule often does not have a clear beginning and end.  Growing closer to Christ is something that is carried out over a lifetime.  One of the things I still struggle with as a pastor is this very fact.  I often go home at the end of the day thinking there was someone else I could have called, visited, another commentary to check.  But the work takes a lifetime.  A pastor then, is a plodder.  Going day by day, striving to move closer to Christ everyday.

It feels like there is not much glamor in plodding.  No celebrating the first day, or moving someone on to the next grade.  But this way reminds me that Christ is the one who does the work in peoples hearts, not me.  Plodding helps me find my satisfaction in Christ, and not in what I have done.


Unknown said…
Praise the Lord there are Plodders and I am proud to say that my son is one of them. May you not grow weary in doing good (plodding)

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