Monday, November 14, 2011

A Pastor's most important task

What is the most important task for a pastor?  To craft compelling sermons?  To develop a rich personal prayer life?  To learn how to listen well?

What would you say if someone asked you that question?

Dallas Willard, philosophy professor at USC, former pastor, and prolific writer on the topic of spiritual formation, would say that the task is this:

To arrange to live with deep contentment, joy, and confidence in one's everyday experience of life with God.

What would it look like to arrange my everyday life so that it was characterized by these three things?

  • Deep contentment.
  • Joy.
  • Confidence.

How do I do this in the midst of a hectic life of work, family issues, poopy diapers, date nights with my wife, bible study, piles of bills, soccer in the backyard with my boys,...all the stuff of ordinary life?

We often tend to separate our spirituality from everyday life when in reality, ALL of life is spiritual, not just the explicitly "religious" moments.  It is in the ordinary moments of life that we can find the richness to be enjoyed and the satisfaction we desire.

In another context, Willard encourages pastors "to have substantial times every week where they do nothing but enjoy God.  That may mean walking by a stream, looking at a flower, listening to music, or watching your children or grandchildren play without your constantly trying to control them.  Experience the fullness of God, think about the good things God has done for you, and realize he has done well by you.  If there is a problem doing that, then work through the problem, because we cannot really serve him if we do not love him."

Instead of adding some kind of spiritual activity to my life, I need to look for God in the midst of what is already happening in my life.  I must look for the ways he has blessed me and enjoy what is right in front of me.  I need to open to God in the midst of my very ordinary life.

What about you?  What can you do to live your everyday life with deep satisfaction in Christ?

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