Most people don’t feel good. Most people aren’t happy, and aren’t satisfied. For me, being a preacher starts with that gloomy fact, with that realization that most of the people I see walking around the world are terribly unhappy. And, it’s not without reason, either. A lot of people fight to keep depressing realities out of the forefront of their mind. Their families are crazy, and their friendships are shallow. Their jobs are unfulfilling, don’t provide what they really want financially, or are at risk of being taken away. Their life is slowly draining away, minute by minute, and it becomes increasingly obvious that they don’t really have much to show for it. And on top of that, most nights there isn’t even anything good on TV.
I suppose in the back of my mind, a major part of what I’m doing in life is that simple—I’m trying to help people feel good. Sometimes that means ministry is about helping them get right with God, because when you’re out of line with God, it jacks up everything else. Sometimes it means helping people find something to do with themselves besides just turning the page on the calendar. Ministry means helping them see that there can be more to their life than chasing paychecks, boys, girls, and what passes for glory these days. Sometimes it means helping people pick up the pieces when they lose something like their job or their family. Sometimes it is full of the really hard work of helping people figure out what the next step is for them to take responsibility for their life, whether that means fixing or abandoning some old relationships or trying to figure out how they’re going to pay off the credit card. Lots of times ministry is about giving people a place where they feel like they belong.
Sometimes, and maybe most of the time, ministry for me means just trying to help people believe that somebody else in the universe cares what happens to them. I guess I believe that if people think I care about them, it’ll help them believe that God cares about them. That seems to me like an important thing to do.
I got into this business because I had a chance, early in life, to feel what it was like to help somebody get right, to help them untangle stuff in their mind just a little bit, and feel loved. I wanted to help everybody feel like that. I suppose that’s what I’ll try to do again tomorrow.