What To Do– My Job!

Love God Love Others

And I heard her murmur…

      “I wouldn’t have his job … ever…”

Doctor.  Cowboy.  Air Traffic Controller. NCIS Investigator.  Judge.  Juror.  Police officer.  Pope.    Just when I thought I’d be silent on the response, I find myself at the keyboard as a consequence of prayer and quiet time and conversation with our congregational president and one other person from the community who is not part of the church I serve.  This shouldn’t take long.

 I never wanted to be physician.  But, I am called DR from time to time.  I’m not a fan of riding horses, but I can show you a photo of me wearing a red cowboy hat, with accompanying boots and six-hooter… and I have met Sky King!  I’m not a snoop for the Navy but I have been tempted on an airplane every once in a while to tell someone ‘where to go.’  My robe is white and I prefer listening to broken people rather than judging them.  I have the highest respect for our police officers and I’m not qualified to be the pope.  I look good in  ‘cardinal’ red but for the longest time now the popes have been single dudes and being married with children bars me from that smoke-filled room.  There’s all kinds of jobs out there… butcher, baker, candlestick maker, etc. Me?  Well, here goes…

My job.  Pastor.  The Bible says that the requirements are stiff.  The bar is raised compared to all other Jesus’ followers.  I’ve never come close.  But I try and God has more grace than I have faults.  The Bible also says the task is simple.  My job…. To make sure the people in the congregation stay faithful to their baptismal call…. to make certain they do what God wants… Daily. Weekly. Annually. For as long as the deal goes.  Simple?  Sure.  It’s the easiest job in the world.  And without end as there is always more work to do.  More people to see.  More confessions to hear.  More mission to tend to.  I’m invited into life’s joy as well as life’s pain… into successes, triumphs and accomplishments as well as brokenness and failures.  The world needs the church.  Churches need pastors.

 Rules?  A few.  Preach.  Teach.  Administer the sacraments.  Love all.  Be their pastor; not their buddy.  Anyone can have a buddy. But, if I’m someone’s pastor then they’ll have at least one friend when all their buddies ditch them.  So, I’m not going anywhere.  Each day is unique, but, yet the same and the longer I stay, then there seems more to do.  In fact, after a while people figure out I know too much about them.  But, that’s OK.  I’ll be silent.  I have to be.  Throwing others under the bus is easy.  Walking with them and seeing the bus coming is much more difficult and demanding.  It’s all about living with the truth.  If they can’t handle the truth– then that’s between them and God.  Me and God?  Well, we’re on good terms, already.  You can ask him.  But, he might be silent, too ’cause God promised me he’d not throw ME under the bus either.    And my favorite?  Part of the job that is… “Tend to the mysteries of God.”  Yep, the church asks me to do  that…  I won’t always have the answer, but I won’t dismiss you in your struggle to live faithfully.

 But, that’s not all…  there are these, too… like “round up all the Lutherans in the area.”  Those who are here and those who are moving here.  The understanding is for those who live about a 25-30 minute drive from the church.  My trust is that all the Lutherans are tending to their Lutheran-ness and I don’t have to go far looking for them.  They will show up.  A lot do and I need to say to them… ‘thanks for showin’ up!’  Then when we’ve sorted out the Lutherans from the rest, we tend to Jesus’ call to “make disciples” for both Jesus’ sake and the sake of the world.  We do that together.  My job is to make sure we are doing that effectively and faithfully.  And I got to tell you, I can be a lot better at this but I’m better than most.  See?  Pastors are supposed to be humble and there I go showin’ off my shortcomings… but this all goes back to the one thing… whether people came to New Life Church as Lutherans or have come here and embraced Lutheranism (and there are more of the latter than the former on last count…) my job is to make sure they do theirs…

Many years ago, an old pastor once said to me… “you know, Gigee, what a pastor’s goal is don’t ya?”  Well, I was young and before I could answer… he did.  “Your job is simple.”  Hey, I thought… I think I know this answer.  “To work yourself out of a job.  That’s the goal.”  Uh-oh I thought.  That’s TWO things, now… 1) to make sure the church stays faithful to its call from God and 2) to work myself out of a job. But, I think he was wrong on that one.  Really.  Here’s why… I call it God-math or God’s algorithm for pastoral presence.  It’s part of the 4 L’s I live with in this work.  Love.  Listen.  Learn.  Lead.  I was doing that back in New Orleans way back in the 20th century and that’s what I did when I came Pearland 16 years ago…  Love. Listen.  Learn.  Lead.

O yeah, the God-math thing… well, the longer a pastor stays in a community… the more people he or she gets to know and the more people he or she gets to know and the longer he or she stays, then the more that pastor knows about the people… and that just means there will be more work to do…. therefore, one can never work themselves out of a job, because there is always more work to do.  It’s a grace thing. … kind of like saving a guy’s life when you quietly ask him how his marriage is going and he doesn’t know you know there’s trouble in paradise (or whatever town you live in…) and his wife is getting ready to kick him out because she’s heard the guy is sleeping with his friend’s wife’s sister … and you know that’s gonna get messy… and that’s when you ask him… “Hey, do you know how many divorced guys it takes to change a light bulb?”  And then he gives you this funny look like, “why the heck did he ask me that?”  And before he can answer, you just say quietly and matter-of-factly… “Oh, it doesn’t matter… the light bulbs always go with the house.” And then you just stand there and say nothing. It didn’t take long for the guy to ask for the name of the therapist and without calling a family meeting and exposing everyone… 3 husbands and 3 wives are living well and faithfully together… they’re doing some ‘personal’ work and the 7 children involved have no clue that dad was on the prowl with their favorite “aunt” and mom was loading the gun and his suitcase… you get the picture… and then when someone asks… “why did you do that?”  My answer is simple… “it’s my job.”  Remember?  It’s that 1 thing… to make sure people do what God asks… and frankly, having an affair with your best friend’s wife’s sister and risking your own marriage and the safety and emotional security of the children in the homes… is not what God wants for any of us.  I love my work.  I love my job… even on the days when I think God might have goofed.  After all, some of my college friends still get together and say… “Gigee’s still a pastor, huh?  What was God thinking?”

It’s a simple job.   There are a lot of details to tend to in order to be a faithful church in this generation.  My job today was to tell you to love God and love others.  I just did.  Now that detail is yours.

 I brought mimosas to our congregation’s birthday party last Sunday.  There’s some left over… so here’s to all of you who love your jobs and appreciate the ones who have one like mine…

I heard her murmur… “I wouldn’t have his job… ever…”  Ok, then.  You don’t have to.  I’m gonna go be quiet and pray now… I have no idea what’s going to happen next… but I know it’s gonna be alright… Love God… love others… the rest is details… God doesn’t want it any other way…

 Brian

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About briangigee

Loves life; lives love! Bud and Doris' eldest son. Descendant of 'refiners' and 'reformers.' Husband to Margo. Father of 5. Grandfather to 2. Brother, uncle, friend and colleague. Working parish pastor. Became a naturalized Texan in February 2013.
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3 Responses to What To Do– My Job!

  1. Shannon Grand says:

    Nice job, Brian.

  2. Dennis Meyette says:

    Nice… you have penned what I’ve thought many times, but unable to put words to paper and I wish I could live up to this calling in those ways just a bit better than I do.

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