BY LUKE HEIM
CHRISTIAN CHURCH PASTOR
The most common question pastors get about their job is, “What do you guys do all day?” Now besides sermons, services, visitations, weddings, funerals, administrative duties, meetings, phone calls, and church events, one of the hidden jobs of a pastor is ministering to the afflicted, the needy, those who fell on hard times, those dealing with addictions. Each story is different and unique. Sometimes the encounter leads to a tank of gas, or food at the local food pantry, or paying for a night in a hotel. Other times, it requires a half day to transport someone to the place they need to go.
Bob was a frequent attender at the church I served in Colorado. The first time he stepped into our church with his biker jacket on, he said, “This is the first church where I didn’t feel like the pastor picked me out in his sermon to try and save me!” The best way I can describe Bob was a tormented Christian. On the one hand, Bob was a bold, brave, outspoken Christian, but on the other hand, Bob struggled with addiction. It wasn’t unusual for Bob to come to church intoxicated or high, but even then, he would stay for prayer. To be honest, many people looking for a handout will tell you whatever you want to hear to get what they need. Not Bob. He truly loved Jesus. But he truly loved his idols too. When Bob couldn’t make it to church for being too strung out, he would often call to ask me to bring him communion. On one such occasion, I can remember climbing the stairs to a drug house where Bob was barely awake in bed. We celebrated communion, and afterwards, he told me that his addiction had allowed him to share Jesus to others struggling like him. When Bob was well and working, we would go out to lunch and he’d give me a wad of hundreds to put in the offering. When Bob wasn’t doing well, I would visit him in the county jail for robbing the local grocery store.
There are many Bobs in the world. People in desperate need. They have a faith in Jesus that is real and active, but they are so tormented by their vices. This is what a pastor does. Some people wonder, why would you continue to go round and round with people who so often break your trust and demand so much of your time? Because Jesus never said give up on the lost, forget the afflicted, leave the one for the ninety-nine. These are the people Jesus sent us to love. These faces are the faces of Jesus. “For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me (Matt 25:35).”
What do we pastors do all day? Stop by and we’ll go out to lunch sometime.