Since I am a pastor, I know something about the burden a preacher carries, whether he is a pastor, evangelist, or a missionary. Clearly we all minister in unique places that present their own responsibilities, but there is much in common regardless of the audience.
I have heard, many times throughout the years, comments that were made in total ignorance. I say that with a loving heart, but unapologetically. Many times the average Christian or church member feel as if they know exactly what a preacher faces. They know what his salary is and how many times he stands before them each week to preach a thirty or forty minute message. Most would argue that the preacher has it made. " Just look at what we are paying him for an hour and a half to two hours per week." If all the preacher ever did was stand and deliver three messages a week, I might be inclined to agree with you. However, I do not know a single man of God that only gives the church two hours per week.
Allow me to share what I mean. That thirty minute message was very likely the result of several hours of prayer, study, and meditation long before the preacher ever announced his text and began to preach. He is usually one of the first to arrive at the service and usually the last to leave.
He is responsible (at least in the minds of most of the church) for all of the church and their extended family, whether they are members of the church or not. Let me further illustrate that for you. If a preacher pastors a church that has 100 members on the roll, by the time you include everyone's mother, father, sister, brother, cousins, in-laws, and close friends, he is easily expected to be there for hundreds more. And, that is expected at any time, day or night, even on the weekends. He may be called during the middle of a meal and immediately leave the home to be at the side of someone who is sick or hurting.
Most pastors have to purchase cancellation insurance on hotel reservations for vacation. He never knows what may come up just prior to his departure or even while he is there. I have never had that to come up as of yet, but I know several pastors who rescheduled or cut short a vacation because of needs within the church.
Now, don't misunderstand me; a God-called man doesn't resent what he does. God has put a love and concern in his heart for the people he serves. He is there because he wants to be. But, I can assure you, he will quickly grow tired of the accusation that he is not really doing enough to earn his salary. Most people who punch a clock work much harder physically than a preacher does, but when they punch out their work is done until the next day. They are expected to only deal with the needs of their own families.
I want to be clear that I am in no way unhappy in my ministry. I am blessed beyond measure to have the privilege to serve where I do. I also know that I am "preaching to the choir" on this forum. However, I do know men who are not appreciated. Apparently, the preacher who was so discouraged is facing some sort of difficulty and despair in his ministry. I want to be the voice of reason to those who may be adding to the burdens of preachers. The purpose for this blog post is to challenge and encourage you to thank God for the pastor you have if he is faithful to preach the Word of God. If he is worth his salt in ministry, he has already labored several hours preparing that message. Be patient with him and try to understand that you and your family are not the only one he is responsible for. It doesn't hurt to let him know once in a while that you appreciate him and the work he is doing. I might even suggest that you ask if there is any way that you could help him as he serves the church.
It is very likely that many pastors abandon the ministry because they grow discouraged and "burn out." It isn't because they are forced to pastor bad people, but many times the pastor is misunderstood and under-appreciated. Don't let that be the case with your pastor. Seek to understand him with a patient and loving heart. Be there for him and stand alongside him. Pray that God will strengthen him and enable him to accomplish all that he is expected to fulfill.