For the last couple of weeks I have been answering the question, “Pastor, what do you do the other six days?” I am not offended by the question, and I think it is good to know what our spiritual leaders do with their time. I have written about the basic flow of my week, the joy and hardship of working with people, and all of the different hats that a pastor has to wear. This week I want to talk about putting first things first as a pastor.
My highest goal in life is to be closer to Christ. Unfortunately, research has shown that the overwhelming majority of pastors today would say they are FURTHER from God than when they started ministry. My job does help me get closer to God – but I have to be intentional about it. I get to study the Bible, write devotions, and commit time to prayer. I get to help people see God working in their lives. Sometimes I must say “no” to the endless demands of people so that I can first pursue my Savior. This allows me to have much more to give people in need.
My next highest goal in life is to take care of my wife, kids, family, and self. God has given me an incredible gift in my wife, and this gift needs to be given constant care and attention. Hannah and I have date nights every week and every day we spend 30-45 minutes catching up on our day. We have our fights and struggles, but she is my best friend, we have a lot of fun together, and I love going through life with her. I make time to be a significant part of my kids’ lives – asking about their days, taking them to school, and making sure I make their sports and activities. We also do family devotions, have fun family times each week, and plan some memory making trips each year. I also take care of myself with regular exercise, a hike every week or so, times in silence with God, plenty of time to play, and a day of rest.
I am far from perfect on how I spend my time. Many of you who are reading this have helped me over the years get better about making the most of time. I have learned how to get a lot out of the 168 hours I am given every week, without burning myself out. I have learned how to say “no” to the good things so that I can say “yes” to the best things.
With my time I am striving to be an example of how to follow Jesus and use time wisely. I want to model a life of hard work, because we are all working for Jesus. I also want to model “rhythm” – a pattern of life that is sustainable and does not lead to burn out but a life overflowing with God’s joy. Keep praying for me!
As I close out this series of blog thoughts, I hope you have understood how a pastor spends his week. Or at least, how I spend my week. (You don’t have to consider me “normal”!) I hope it has also let you consider how you spend your gift of time. Jesus first.