by Robert Earl Houston
I’m so grateful for all of the cards, emails, notes, text messages that I’ve received since my surgery on Friday. I really am. In most cases, the phone calls and emails and texts begin the same way, “How are you doing?”
That’s a very good question and let me answer it in typical baptist preacher fashion, we three points and a close . . .
First, I’m feeling the affects of prayer
At the time where I’ve been assigned by the Holy Spirit and across the nation, people are praying for me. I’ve even heard from fellow believers in Japan and Germany. People who I’ve known for years, people who I’ve just recently met, and even those who I have never met, have reached out and said “I’m praying for you.”
Not only do I believe in the power of prayer to move the heavenlies, I also believe in what prayer will do for the one being prayed for. My faith has been strengthened, my focus is squarely on the Lord, and I have been reminded that the church does best under pressure. My ministers are praying, my deacons are praying, my trustees are praying, the women of the church are praying, the men of the church are praying, even the youth and children are praying – and I am feeling the affects of your appeals to the Father. Thank you!
Secondly, I’m feeling the affects of rest
I am a workaholic pastor. Have been for years. The problem with being a workaholic pastor is that outside of his or her immediate family, very few people know that their soul-watcher is up at 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. or later working on sermons, lessons, letters, projects, etc. I don’t know too many pastors who work a 9 to 5 at their church. The ministry does not have office hours nor overtime. You can be at home resting and then one phone call can turn your evening plans upside down. Several of us, me included, have to take sleeping pills because of the lack of rest that we receive in the mind and heart. There’s always another matter, another program, another sermon to be developed. However, this time, it’s different because I’m order strict orders to rest. I’ve spent less than 2 hours a day on work related issues – a first for me. One reason is because I have an awesome staff of leaders – my Chair of Deacons, my Chair of Trustees, my Church Treasurer, my Secretary, my Assistant to the Pastor – are more than able and capable of carrying things on and giving me the opportunity to rest my spirit.
Thirdly, I’m feeling the affects of ministry
One thing that my contemporaries and I are understanding is that he or she who ministers to the people also need to be ministered unto – need to be encouraged, need to be reminded of the scriptures, need to be prayed for. I am refreshed by those who call and want to pray with me. I was refreshed Sunday when my Chair of Deacons, associates and some of the youth, came over to serve the Lord’s supper and pray with me and my wife, Jessica. I was encouraged with the ladies of the church sent over dinner to take that burden away from my wife for Sunday. I am encouraged to hear our Assistant say that she’s writing the Bible Lesson for tonight and hear that plans for the upcoming Men and Women’s Day are full-steam ahead. I’m glad that even though the pastor is on the sidelines temporarily that the work of the ministry continues to move forward.
So how am I doing? I’m blessed and highly favored; I’m not waiting until this battle is over, I’m shouting now; I’m looking to the hills from whence cometh my Help; and I’m determined to trust God through this infirmity.