Are You Willing to Pay the Price?

People seem to have a lot of misconceptions, partial-truths, fantasies, and more about the lives of others.  We have few illusions about our own life and what labor was involved in achieving the goals we set for ourselves.  But, when it comes to others, that’s where the ‘illusion’ begins.

Take pastoring, as an example.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a nice office, set your own hours, do what you want to, when you want to, have no one but God to answer to, and get paid?  Sounds like the perfect dream job, and many believe this.  But, is the dream really true, or is it like so many other things, and only has the appearance.

Well, before we get into some of the challenges, let’s be clear about one thing – one can have no higher calling in this earthly existence than to be a minister of the Gospel.  It is certainly a very honorable and lofty position, with many benefits.  But, on the other hand, it is probably not what many people think it is.

Here are some sample job qualifications for being a good pastor (yes, there are plenty of bad pastors out there, but we are only talking about the ‘good’ ones):

  • Able to listen to people who tell their problems, their gripes, their fears, their secrets for hours, and sometimes days, on end.  All without uttering a disparaging word.
  • Able to take calls at all hours of the night, workdays, weekends, holidays, vacation time.  Many of these calls will disrupt your normal plans.
  • Patiently instruct people time-and-again, often about the same things.
  • Always ready to give a word of encouragement, even when you don’t feel too encouraged yourself.
  • Deal with knuckle-heads, and hard-heads, and folks who would rather fight than switch.
  • Study and meditate as if this were your final exam, every week.
  • Visit the sick, the diseased, the lonely, the grieving.
  • Be willing to be taken for granted, for you are always there.
  • Constantly praying for those who need physical healing, financial help, jobs, relationship problems, marriage problems, other problems.

And, yet, this is a shortened list.  A full list would exceed our posting limit, and be too long to read.

But, let’s be honest, it is not just pastoring that is misunderstood.  Truth is, every profession that others do seems better than the one you are in.  In brief, everyone else has it easy, and no knows just how hard you have it.

Let’s put this in a different way – “all jobs are easy, as long as you don’t have to do them.”

Now we are getting down to the nitty-gritty.  As long as I don’t have to do anything everything is easy.  It’s easy because someone else has to do it.  Strange as it may seem, this is not unusual, and we must guard against this tendency.  It is human to think in this way, but just because it is human doesn’t mean it is right.

We are going into election year, and like most people I’m already sick of it.  Hearing politicians talk, make promises, throw mud, etc… is not my idea of having fun.  But, along the topic I’m talking about in this posting, being a politician is not all ‘peaches and cream.’  To be a politician you have to be willing to have your name, reputation, family, and history smeared in the papers, on radio, on TV, and the Internet on a constant basis.  Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, you still have to deal with it.  Most people could not deal with this, which is why they stay away from politics, where things are rough and tumble.

So, going back to my title – although we may fantasy about having the perfect career or job, there is always a price to pay.  Most people could achieve whatever goals they desire, but the hold-back is they are unwilling to pay the price for success.  In fact, the price is sometimes so high, no one should pay it, but people do, time and again.  Some struggle so hard at becoming rich or famous that they alienate everyone that they ever knew, and end up successful, but alone.  Of course, if you are rich you can buy whatever friends you need to keep you company.  Sounds like real fun, doesn’t it?

How many actors, singers, entertainers do you know of that were rich, successful, famous, but whose lives ended tragically?  Yes, there are quite a few.  I’ve always liked William Holden, and the movie roles he played.  But, towards the end of his life things were different.  He died in his home from a fall that cut his head, and he eventually bled to death.  Of course, it didn’t help that he was drunk.  And, it also didn’t help that he was alone.  I liked actors Brian Keith, Inger Stevens, Gig Young, and others, but they all committed suicide.  For them success was not what everyone thought it was.  For them the price was too high.

But, on the other end of the spectrum there are those who will never achieve any goals, never achieve any level of success.  Why?  Because they are unwilling to pay the price, any price to achieve even modest success.  Some are waiting for it to be handed to them, as if the world owed them something.  Some are waiting to receive their reward from the government, unwilling to exert any effort on their own.

Interestingly enough, this post is not a spiritual post, but there are references from the Bible that support the idea that much of your achievement and success comes not from what is handed to you, but what you do with what gifts and talents you have been granted.  Will it be easy?  No.  Will it require effort, commitment, dedication, sacrifice?  Probably.

So, the only question remaining is “are you willing to pay the price?”

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One Response to “Are You Willing to Pay the Price?”

  1. Bea McGuire Says:

    Wow! This post was very close to my heart! Would you believe Pastor preached on gifts and talents this morning and asked what we are doing with them! This was an awesome blog and so beautifully written. Blessings to you for always being such a blessing to others! I’ll remember this one for a long time! 🙂

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