Of the seven dwarfs - Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Doc, Bashful, Happy and Grumpy, I am most fascinated with Grumpy.
What is it that makes us grumpy? Is grumpiness a condition that is forced upon us or does is come naturally? It’s the nature verses environment discussion.
It is my observation that grumpiness often leads to anger which quickly turns into bitterness.
In the last couple of weeks, I have been involved in a number of discussions with folks who have become bitter about ministry.
The conversation usually goes something like this:
“I have given my heart and soul to this ministry (church or denomination) and now…” Here are the options:
· “I am being left out to hang.”
· “No one appreciates what I have done.”
· “I work 24-7 and am always being asked to do more.”
· “No one cares that I don’t make enough money to pay the bills.”
Ministry bitterness, anger and grumpiness are usually based in reality. From my experience, people who go into vocational ministry are hard-working, creative and full of integrity. More often than not, this is not appreciated by those who benefit most from the work of these individuals.
In recent weeks I have spent time with folks who have been let go due to reduced giving. Others have been asked to leave positions because they are no longer seen as valuable. Some have been asked or forced to resign because they are viewed as part of the problem.
Whatever the cause, it is easy to become bitter towards God and the church and to forget that vocational ministry is a privilege.
This blog is mostly a reminder to me.
I get to work in ministry full-time.
I am not always treated fairly.
Many days I wish I was making more money.
Not everyone appreciates what I do.
But, for the past 20 years I have had the opportunity to do this full-time.
As a pastor, I have dedicated babies, baptized new believers, held the hands of people as they have passed from this world into eternity, and cried as I have officiated at funerals.
As an employee of DOOR, I have given witness to participants who have come face-to-face with their own racism or the realities of racism’s affect, and watched as they have made first steps toward lessening the impact of this evil on their lives.. I have watched youth and young adults recommit themselves to their Christian faith.
When I forget all the powerful things that I have been a part of, it is easy to become self-centered and grumpy. It is easy to focus on how others have treated me poorly.
Ministry, especially full-time ministry is a privilege. Let’s not forget this.