What breaks a pastor’s heart?
I was reading 2 Corinthians 11 this morning and verses 28 and 29 got me thinking. This is what it says in The Message:
“And that’s not the half of it, when you throw in the daily pressures and anxieties of all the churches. When someone gets to the end of his rope, I feel the desperation in my bones. When someone is duped into sin, an angry fire burns in my gut.”
Paul had talked about the afflictions and hardships he suffered in serving Christ as a minister of the gospel. He talked about his hard work, imprisonments, beatings, exposure to death, stoning, shipwrecks, natural disasters, bandits, betrayals, sleeplessness, hunger and thirst, and physical need. Then he goes on to say “that’s not half of it”, and adds what breaks his heart or what causes anxiety to rise within him on a daily basis. He feels the desperation of people or is gutted when people fall into sin.
This got me thinking. When am I gutted? What breaks my heart on a regular basis? Here are some of the things that breaks my heart as a pastor.
1. It breaks my heart when I see someone in church or in my community in a desperate situation and I am helpless to do anything.
2. It breaks my heart when I see someone struggling with sin or an addiction and I am powerless to pull them out into a place of freedom.
3. It breaks my heart when I am judged or receive unfair criticism and I am not able to resolve the issue with the person or persons involved.
4. It breaks my heart when someone leaves the church because it feels like I am being disowned by a family member.
5. It breaks my heart when I see Christians choose comfort and independence over being a community of disciple-makers that Jesus envisaged.
6. It breaks my heart when I see injustice and oppression in my community because it goes against God who is just and merciful.
7. It breaks my heart to see greed and materialism creeping into every facet of society because I know the sin of covetousness will lead to destruction.
Having a gutted heart only confirms to me that I am called to shepherd my community like a father cares for his family. Like Paul, pastors will have to learn to carry a broken heart in ministry on a regular basis and not to shrink back from this calling, but to rely on God’s grace to help them persevere in ministry.