Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Privilege of Pastoring

Someone asked me today if it wasn't wearing to counsel people all the time. I thought I should address that here because it's a common misperception.

Actually, counseling, and any pastoral "work" that brings me into the life of another person, is an honor. I really mean that. It's a privilege to be invited into the most personal part or time in someone's life. I'm invited into a person's most holy place - their "inner sanctum" so to speak. It's truly a holy moment to know that someone has trusted me (and trusted God by trusting me) to be that deep inside their life.

The other reason I like pastoring - specifically counseling - is that it is real. I don't deal with superficiality well. I know when people are giving me the fake smile and phony "happy" answers. I like hearing the truth and that's what I hear in counseling. I enjoy giving people permission to be honest without having to be "nice" or "spiritual" or anything like that. They can share all their thoughts and emotions without feeling like I'm going to tell them they are wrong or "unspiritual". There are few places you can be so honest. It's very rewarding to know that I serve that purpose in the lives of others.

The realness of counseling also helps me in my writing and speaking. When I write/speak, I'm not addressing lofty ideals. I'm addressing real life situations that I've helped people through at some time in the past. Or I'm relating how I suceeded or, more often, failed in life. That kind of reality makes my ministry that much more helpful.

I suppose some people would be bored or overwhelmed by such intimacy with people in these moments. But not me. I thank God all the time for the ministry he's given me.

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