Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Helping Others Seek

The cartoon on the right is by nakedpastor, who shared it a few weeks ago. There was something about it that resonated with me as a pastor, particularly in this time as my understanding of the role seems to be shifting a little.

For several years now, I've been wanting to be the pastor who Makes Stuff Happen. Whether on a programmatic level or on a pastoral care level, I can look back and see just how results-oriented I've been at points.

What this cartoon really stimulated for me was reflection on the pastoral care level. I can point to instances where I've wanted some visual change to take place in the person for whom I'm providing care. I've hoped for some "Aha!" moment to happen for them, perhaps even as I sit talking to them.

I should have known better from the beginning.

I should have known better that human nature doesn't work that way, and that ministry doesn't work that way, and that God doesn't work that way.

I should have known better that my vocation as a caregiver is about planting seeds, not forcing them to grow. I should have known better that, like Moses, my job is not to get people to the Promised Land, but only to point out the daily manna that God is providing for people.

But now I do know better. Or at least I've been reminded again. So that must count for something, right?

I think that I have some things to repent for. At times I've tried to force people to find when I should have just helped them seek. This cartoon was a good reminder for me.

I look forward to beginning my spiritual direction program this weekend. Surely it will help remind me of that as well.