Being a pastor often means there's plenty of time for guilt and self-doubt. It's just what happens - when you job is handling the Word of God, sharper than any two edged sword - yeah. When you are dealing also with a business (because our congregations are also businesses) and the various expectations and demands and goals for success - and these demands conflate with the emotional toil that comes from dealing with the Word of God and the people who need to hear it - it can be a big old whammy.
And then, every year on Sexagesima, we get the parable of the Sower and the Seed.
He who has ears, let him hear.
I don't know if there is anything that is more comforting to me as a pastor than that.
My task, my goal, my job - it's not to fix people. It's not to do everything right. It's not to grow a business. These are all things beyond my control - I am incapable of these things. As Luther has us pastors pray, if left to ourselves, we would bring it all to utter destruction.
I am not the architect of the church. I am not the one who gives it growth. I am not the chief fixer. I am not the perfect, unshakable pillar of Lutheranism. I am not the uber mench.
I'm simply a preacher. A sower of the seed, one who casts out God's Word.
And he who has ears will hear.
Simple as that.
I don't need to micromanage things - I am simply to preach the Word, and he who has ears will hear.
I don't need to figure out whether that person is really, really repentant - I am simply to preach the Word, and he who has ears will hear.
I don't need to find the secret of massive growth - I am simply to preach the Word, and he who has ears will hear.
Maybe the soil God gives me to sow will be rather dry, or rocky, or weedy. Or maybe it will be good soil. I don't know - that's not my responsibility.
A sower sows the seed. A preacher preaches the Word. And the Spirit does what He wills when He wills it.
It's good to be reminded, pastors, that we are not actually one ones in charge.
He who has ears, let him hear!