1. Clergy: The least worldly are reported to be the happiest of all
I’m happy to report that I have a happy job. In fact, I have the happiest job on the list. Indeed. According to this article on Forbes, Clergy ranks #1 as the happiest job. #2 is Firefighter (saving lives!) and #10 is Operating Engineers — the ones who use machines to move nuisance chunks of earth. In fact, my Grandfather was an operating engineer who built freeways, welded disparate metals, and serviced VacAll trucks.
As a full time clergy (man of the cloth, reverend, pastor, non-television evangelist) what I do as my job is something I would be doing anyway. I try to remember that I get to do this, even on Sunday afternoons, tank emptied and reality skewed by exhaustion, following a week where there were 15 issues and only 11 answers. The “job” part of it engages when I need to be gone a lot, or when the redundancy becomes something of a grind. It allows me to have the margin for rejuvenation without having the added concern of a regular job.
Believe me, there are times when most pastors, at least the ones who are honest, start thinking about other things they could do instead of pastoral ministry. “What if I worked at a bakery? I bet bakers don’t have to deal with frustrated saints and judgement of their mismatched socks.” Ministry is not easy. One must be called by Jesus to be a pastor. A wife who brings you back to reality helps, too.
When it gets tough, we remember our calling. And this — this — is where Clergy find happiness. It’s the sense that God has called you to shepherd, to lead, to serve, to be present. It’s the calling that keeps us going, knowing that Joy comes in the morning (after a long night with a church family at the ER). It’s the calling that is tested, tried, and true, when a sermon bombs and people end up coming to Jesus because the minister finally got out of the way. It’s the calling that got us here and the calling that keeps us here, because we have unlimited resource in the One who called us in the first place!
And, when that doesn’t work, we just remember how sweet it is to work only one day a week. Actually, that’s a myth: we also occasionally attend Wednesday evening events.**
I’m happy to be a Pastor. I serve a great church that “gets” the mutual role of pastor/congregation. This is a huge blessing. I feel loved, and it’s nurturing. I love them. I tell people that my church makes my job easy — they let me pastor. And I don’t take that for granted.
My tank is nearly full. But let me ask you this: have you encouraged your pastor today? Here’s what to do: love Jesus by loving your pastor.
** This is a bit of dry humor, which, in my experience, is a wink and nod to those who get it but a stick of dynamite to those who don’t. The ones who get it know that this is an ironic twist on reality, that “Pastors only work 1 day per week”. It’s a running gag parlayed by those who are jealous of what some perceive as an easy schedule. Incidentally, one study indicated that the engergy expended in delivering just one sermon is the equivalent of the energy spent in a typical 8 hour work day, let alone the calls, meetings, study, emergencies, and all around backstage view of raw humanity.