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Every so often someone says something to make me realize that what I do for a living is a mystery to many people!

I was on the phone with a new acquaintance to schedule an appointment, and he asked me, “How about this afternoon?”

It was a Saturday and I explained that I work on Saturdays, and he said (I kid you not), “Oh, I thought you worked on Sundays.”

Now before you cut him any slack, it was clear to me from our conversation that he assumed I work only one morning a week.

I was a bit stunned, and for a few moments I was speechless.

I was beginning to like this guy and now I just felt insulted … or hurt … or something. I wasn’t sure how I felt I was so shocked by his comment.

I took a deep breath and calmed myself.

Then I said, “Well, believe it or not, being the pastor of a church involves a lot more than showing up on Sunday morning.”

“Oh?” he replied in an innocent tone.

Now generally I don’t talk about the kinds of responsibilities my work entails because when I do I begin feeling as though I am trying to justify my paycheck. However, in this instance I had little choice.

I said, “There are many things involved in helping a congregation do what it’s supposed to do. There are committee meetings, financial considerations, and building upkeep. I’m involved in teaching classes, planning worship services, preparing relevant sermons, visiting people in their homes, praying with those in the hospital or other care facilities, counseling individuals and couples in crisis, comforting the grieving, and conducting weddings and funerals. There are community outreach efforts to support, social injustices to fight, staff to supervise, volunteers to appreciate, and emergencies to address.”

He said, “Yeah, I guess it makes sense that there would be more to it.”

“YOU GUESS?” I wanted to scream!

Instead I just quietly responded, “Now you know.”

Words (c) 2012 Mark Lloyd Richardson
Photo (c) 2012 Dallis Day Richardson (not that anyone would steal a photo of a Methodist preacher)

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