There are times when a pastor needs his moments of peace. But he always needs to be available when someone needs his help, his advice, or just his ear for a while. Counseling people is not just a part of the job. It is a ministry in itself, a calling to serve as Jesus served.
But what can you do when someone presents a problem to you, and there is no answer? I'll be honest. There are times when I need recharging, and someone asks, "Can we talk?" I say, "Yes, of course." But inwardly I am thinking, "Is this going to be something I can fix, or something I will need to live with for a long time?"
When my car's brakes make noise, I take it in to be worked on. Even though it will cost me, it's a good feeling to drive away knowing that the problem has been fixed. In a relatively short time, and for a cost that I know I am willing to pay, the repairs have been done.
Fixing is great. If someone wants to talk about how I can fix a problem, explain a verse or shovel the church's steps more often, I am happy. It will happen in a short time, and the cost isn't that great. But life doesn't always work that way. Hurting people need someone who genuinely cares for them.
So what do you do when you don't know what to say? First, pray. That sounds like an easy, obvious answer. But what do you pray? Do you pray for words of wisdom that will fix the problem and make you the hero? Or for wisdom to know how to listen better, to be more in tune with the Holy Spirit, and for patience to love and serve as long as it takes?
It has been said that ministry is a messy business. And that is true. But God has called us all, not just pastors, to be ministers of His Good News, and to be loving ministers of His peace to those who are in need.
Who is God calling you to minister to today?