Your Calling to Do Hard Things
"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'
He said, 'Go and tell this people: Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving. Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes'" (Isaiah 6:8-10).
Believe me when I tell you there are parts of my work as an attorney which I do not like. Likewise, there are parts of my work as a church mediator which are hard and not very rewarding. There are parts of my various assignments as a church leader which I would definitely rather not do, things I definitely do not feel “gifted” to do, but which my leadership requires nonetheless.
Isaiah’s calling was almost certainly not to do something he enjoyed doing. It was a calling to do a very hard thing, for over 40 years, with practically no visible return whatsoever.
So, I hope my pastor friends will understand when I tend to look with some skepticism at their desire to just do the part of pastoring which they enjoy doing.
- Some would like to just focus on the preaching and teaching without having to bother with the “pastoral care” parts.
- Others would like to focus on the administrative aspects without having to do so much preaching and teaching.
- Still others could be content just doing hospital visits all day long and never having to attend another insufferable committee meeting.
Shepherding God’s people includes all of those things. You don’t have to be good at all of them, but you do have to do all of them.
If you don’t feel called to visit sick people and to counsel grieving people, you probably are not called to be a pastor. If you don’t feel called to research, prepare and deliver God-honoring sermons, then you are probably not called to shepherd God’s people. If your calling does not include a modicum of “interminable committee meetings,” then you are probably not called to lead in the church. If relationships are just not what God called you to do, then you are definitely not called to be an influencer of God’s people.
If Isaiah teaches us anything at all, he gives us a glimpse of one central eternal truth about leadership among God’s people: it is a calling to do hard things. The old saying is never any truer than it is with regard to leadership, "If it were easy, everybody would be doing it!”
Do the hard things. It will set you apart because nobody else wants to do them.
Besides, those hard things are not merely incidental to your calling; they are at its very heart.
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