But this is an unbelievably busy season in ministry for me, and I didn't quite finish my book last week. So, you're going to get the old kind of post today. Sorry.
We knew it was going to be a crazy season in ministry. We just launched a new singles philosophy at the church that is pretty high-maintenance at the outset, I'm preaching in a couple of weeks, leading a premarital counseling class, doing a couple of weddings, preparing for and traveling to Italy for a week in the middle of October to do some mission work there, and trying to keep-up with some of the relationships I've been building since I came back in June.
I'm no sage, but I know that times like this happen in ministry (and life in general, for that matter). Fortunately, we saw this one coming far enough in advance that we've been able to protect our November to give us a season of rest after the season of busyness. But even so, my personal bent is such that I tend to get extremely discouraged during my busiest times of ministry.
Most of the time, you don't see a lot of fast progress in ministry. So a lot of times when I'm working my tail off, it is for few noticeable results. Very rarely does God use me to be involved in changing a person's life overnight. Results are slow, people are messy, and a lot of times the ministry is a bit more like herding cats than shepherding sheep. And so in my busiest seasons of ministry, it's easy to get completely discouraged because you're exerting so much effort and see very little change.
Sundays are the worst. You prepare, pray, and preach on a Sunday morning, and by the time the Cowboys kick-off, the average church member has forgotten 95 percent of what you said. And the five percent they remember is the story about the crocodile you told to open the message. And so, some of the most discouraging times for many pastors (not just me) is Sunday afternoon.
So, I mow my yard every Sunday afternoon.
My grass is a great metaphor of ministry for me. I work hard in the yard. I prepare the soil, I fertilize regularly, I water every day, pull every weed I can see, and pulverize every critter that might threaten the health of my yard. But if I was to lay down on my stomach and lament the fact that I can't see the grass growing, you would call for the men in their nice white coats to cart me away to the funny farm.
So, I spend an hour or two every Sunday after church (sorry Sabatarians) cutting my grass. It's the only thing I do every week where I get to see an instant reward for my work, and a constant reminder that ministry (and life) is worth the hard work.