Today is the fourth anniversary of my ordination. The fourth year is not necessarily a special landmark or anything; it just happens that this is the first year that May 30th has arrived and I've noticed it. So I've reflected on it a bit today.
I have been a little discouraged with my productivity lately. Ministry happens in the interruptions is what they told us in seminary, and I try to remind myself of that as often as possible. Nevertheless, this particular vocation and this context involves so many little unrelated tasks that pull me in a million directions. Sometimes I feel like I'm not getting anything done well. Today I took the church garbage to the dumpster next door (navigating the piles of dog poop in the yard that the back-door neighbor's dog has left there), had an impromptu counseling session with someone who dropped by and needed to talk about some very serious family and medical issues, met with a group about the possibility of my entering prison ministry, purchased gift cards for our Sunday School teacher appreciation day, made and answered about a dozen phone calls, firmed up this Sunday's baccalaureate service with a colleague, proofed a bulletin, bought some VBS materials, communicated with the treasurer about some checks that must be cut before he heads out of town, read one of my confirmand's last-minute sermon summaries, and led a Bible study for which only two people showed up. I tried to get over to hospice to have a visit, but was unsuccessful. I don't really know what tomorrow will bring.
For reflection on this anniversary, here is Martin Luther (from Table Talk):
"A good preacher should have these properties and virtues:
first, to teach systematically;
secondly, he should have a ready wit;
thirdly, he should be eloquent;
fourthly, he should have a good voice;
fifthly, a good memory;
sixthly, he should know when to make an end;
seventhly, he should be sure of his doctrine;
eighthly, he should venture and engage body and blood,
wealth and honor, in the Word;
ninthly, he should suffer himself to be mocked and jeered of every one."
In all my pastoral comings and goings, I suppose I should never forget the danger of taking myself too seriously.