The Heartbeat

Last week I addressed the need to find a "balance" between giving things your best while, at the same time, being mindful of working for the long haul. Today I would like to go a bit further into all of this.

One of the things I often ask pastors, especially younger pastors, is what hobbies they might have. The answer I am most unhappy hearing is that they have no hobbies.

When I was about 13 or 14 years old I talked to my dad (also a pastor) about his hobby of buying, fixing up, selling or just collecting antique horse drawn carriages. What had begun as a "whim" purchase of a single buggy, had, within a few years turned into a fairly substantial collection of 20-30 carriages housed in a large "carriage house" that he and I had built. So I asked my dad about this. He said that the carriages, and in particular the fixing up/restoring of the carriages was therapeutic. He said, "So much of pastoring has no end, but with the carriages I can reach a point where I can say, 'There, that is done.' I find that therapeutic." I'm not sure I understood the word therapeutic at the time but I got what he was saying. The carriages helped take his mind OFF of his pastoral work and there was, with that, some sense of closure.

Through the years I have taken real delight in mowing our lawn and one of the reasons for that is because there is closure. Sure, I know I will have to do it all over again a week later, but during the meantime there is, at least initially, a sense of "Ah, that looks better," and "That is finished." But the only time you really get that sense in pastoral ministry is when someone dies who has been faithful unto death. Shy of that, because you are dealing with people, all kinds of things can run amuck.

Some years ago Bill Hybels wrote an article on how to deal with what he called EDPs – emotionally draining people. He wrote about his life and how, though he was doing fine spiritually, physically and in his marriage, emotionally he was running dry, having been drained by some situations. In that article he also advocated the same: taking up a hobby to help refill your emotional tank. Both Billy Graham and R.C. Sproul were known for being good golfers. To become good at golf takes a lot of time. I would venture to say they pursued golf for the same reason that I have been talking about.

So have some hobby or hobbies. Learn to golf, or fly fish, or maybe even learn to ride a Solowheel (!!!!).

By His Grace, Doug

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