Since I have been back in the pastorate, I have been reminded of how important it is to go to the spiritual gas station. You may ask, “What do you mean by that, Matthew?” As one who is always dispensing ministry, I have to have my tank filled. So I have a spiritual gas station routine.
I began this Sunday morning spiritual gas station routine about 2 months ago. A rather intense season of life landed me sick in bed for about a week. I had to take the Sunday off because I was too sick to preach. During that time, the Spirit of God led me to watch a church I have not watched in years. There are three perks to watching this: they still have a choir (the kind that actually knows how to lead in worship rather than entertain or fill up service time), the preaching is biblical and lively, and they have an 8:30 am service I can listen to live on the way to church every Sunday.
This morning, I was able to catch most of the sermon. This afternoon, I decided to get a second helping of the service and catch the entire sermon. Good thing my daughter was in the car because she picked up on 3 important points. I would like to share those with you: Don’t compete! Don’t compare! Don’t complain!
As a pastor, I needed to hear don’t compete! I’m not the competitive type, but it’s easy to get discouraged by all the pastors I see who make everything a competition. It can be simultaneously discouraging and annoying.
I also needed to hear the words “Don’t compare!” This is the most discouraging part. I see the highlight reels of all these pastors. Some days, I just want to remove them all from my social media or delete my own social media. The enemy loves to use that against me, whispering into my ear that I’m a washed up bivocational pastor who isn’t successful like these others. I definitely don’t have the time and energy these other guys do who don’t have a full-time job to worry about nor a large family. They have the means to live near their church and work their own schedule without feeling guilty for having to scrap up what time they have left to minister to others after working 40 hours somewhere else. God knows I’m giving it my best shot, and thankfully I’m not called to be like these others. While I wish I had the results they have, it is what it is! God is speaking loudly, “Matthew, quit comparing!”
Don’t complain! I needed this reminder too. It’s easy to have a pity party of one. No one else wants to attend and hear it. I tend to complain after I compare. It’s no fun! I have always said that complaining make the complainer and the one who has to endure listening to it miserable.
I’m glad I fueled up again today. I don’t just need it on Sundays. I need it daily. The truth is you need daily refuelings at the spiritual gas station. Make spiritual nourishment a priority! You can’t afford to skip it!