I love being a minister. There’s nothing else I can imagine doing. But, I have to admit, there are some things I don’t like. In reality, there’s one thing I hate about being a minister.
It usually goes like this: I’m talking to someone, things are going well, the conversation is lively and enjoyable. We could be talking about sports, news, the weather, you know, stuff people talk about. And then this question comes up, “What do you do for a living?”
I like this question. It opens the door for me to easily and naturally make a faith confession. But, there have been plenty of times when I’ve told someone I’m a minister and the mood of the conversation changes. They become more distant and guarded.
All of sudden, because I shared one piece of information, the conversation is no longer lively or enjoyable.
I HATE this.
I hate that when I tell some people I’m a minister, they become uncomfortable. Here are three reasons why I hate this…
1. Jesus is a friend of sinners.
The thing I hate the most about this is that many people didn’t respond to Jesus this way. When you read the gospels it’s clear people loved being around Jesus. In fact, it was the roughest crowd that loved being around him the most. On the other hand, religious people hated him so much they killed him.
One of the biggest criticisms of Jesus from the religious elite was that he was “a glutton and a drunkard and a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Luke 7:34). Jesus went to parties and provided the alcohol (John 2:1-12). He was not a square. I get the feeling Jesus was comfortable anywhere talking with anyone.
2. There are some people I’ll never be able to have a close relationship with.
I hate that what I do for a living automatically puts distance between me and other people. I’m grieved by this. Yet, I can’t do much to control it. Most of the time people project onto me what they think I think based on past experiences.
There are some people it will be very difficult for me to have a relationship with simply because I’m a minister. I realize there are other professions that make certain relationships difficult. But, in light of who Jesus is, this is a tough pill for me to swallow.
I would love to have Jesus’ reputation as a friend of sinners.
3. I’m afraid many people have a negative perception of Christians.
I hate that some people have such a negative perception of Christians, and Christian ministers, that they become uncomfortable the second they find out their talking to one. I can’t help but wonder, “What past experiences do they have that cause them to feel the way they do?”
I also can’t help but wonder, “If those of us who claim to follow Jesus, lived like Jesus, would those perceptions exist?”
I’m committed to doing everything I can to be like Jesus, a friend to sinners, living a pure life, full of grace and truth. What have you done to help remove barriers between you and other people? I’d love to hear your thoughts.