Essentials 2011   Gangsta Culture   TV: The Great Satan   Gil Scott-Heron   Wisdom   LEAVING THE STAGE   Pale Horse   Tribalism   Eddie Long

At some point, folk in ministry need to walk offstage, get a drink of water, enjoy quiet solitude, be with family and get some oxygen. Your pastor or preacher literally makes a decision to minister to you despite what may be happening in their own lives. Many times, that decision could have detrimental effects in their own life. Iím not saying that we donít want to minister to you. Iím saying that, in a day where many are walking away from ministry and the church, you should notice.

by by Neil Brown

When I was 13, 14 and 15, I was deep into wrestling. No, really deep. You know, The Hart Foundation, Nikolai Volkoff, Ultimate Warrior, Jimmy 'Superfly' Snuka, Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat, Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan-deep. Road Warriors, Undertaker, Ravishing Rick Rude, Tito Santiago, Mr. 1derful Paul Orndorff, Chris Beniot-deep. Don't play me, I watched that World Wrestling Federation every week on the USA network.

I was obsessed with it, and thought that it was real. It was only later that I discovered how much training, dedication and discipline this would take. I recall an interview with one of the stars of the wrestling entertainment world. Don't worry about which one, but, in his interview, he discussed what it was like adjusting to normal life after his retirement.

He started with the most unusual comment. ďI'll never get the Father Of The Year award.Ē While he had provided opportunities to his children to live well, have the best schooling, all the latest gadgets of technology, expensive cars and designer labels; he was not present for childhood. He had missed first steps. Choir concerts, sporting events, birthdays. He'd had very few holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. All of his fame had cost him something: the chances to be present for fatherhood.

He had grown used to living out of a suitcase. Hotels as living rooms and room service as a kitchen. Different gyms. Different cities. One-night engagements were really one-night stands. Here tonight, there tomorrow. Walking through airports was like walking through city parks. Oddly enough, you're always ďon.Ē He talked a bit about character development, bringing your wrestler personality to the surface. There is no time to be yourself when screaming, clamoring fans want your autograph or want your picture. What do you with all of the screaming girls that will do anything for you, and make it known?

Yeah, you're on TV.

Yeah, you're in magazines.

Yeah, you're doing award shows in this character, but, at some point, you want to get off stage. You want to be yourself and be... by yourself. You try not to believe your own press.

You ask yourself, ďHow can I escape the spotlight?Ē

This is much like Jesus, who was always in the public eye once his ministry started. It was one thing to be the carpenter's son, and another to be the Messiah that no one knew about until the miracles manifested. What is it like when there are throngs of people hanging on your every word? What is it like when they are longing for your touch or wanting to be healed? No matter where He went, no matter what He did, He drew crowds of people.

According to text earlier in the chapter,

Jesus and the boys had been more than busy. We are reminded of the death of the circumstances concerning his cousin, John the Baptist and from there, He feeds thousands.

Verses 13 and 14, When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfullyósomeone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed their sick.

He got the news, and departed from company. He tries to get to an out of the way place by himself. Heís not just dealing with the death of a prophet, this is family: John The Baptist was Jesusí cousin. But, someone spotted Jesus and word got out about where he was. Sometimes, I wonder if people even cared that Jesus needed time alone? Did they even consider, for a moment, that there was no one else present? They didnít ask if it was okay to intrude. They didnít ask if he wanted company. Never asked if he was all right. You would think that you could visibly see that he was hurting or in some degree of distress. You would think, but, noÖword spread around that the Preacher was alone and the next thing you knew, here they came. He tried to get out of the spotlight for a moment. He tried to be by himself for just a little while. How did you not notice? Is it that youíre so deep in your own needs that you donít even notice that the person youíre going to may need some privacy?

The thing about Jesus is that, according to the text, He was moved with compassion. He was overcome with pity and began doingÖministry. He began healing their sick. And, later in the day, upon noticing that it was getting late, his disciples suggested that he dismiss the crowd so they could eat.

It almost gives the feeling, in the text, that the disciples were annoyed at the people for hanging around so long. It was warm. It was late. There were many thousands of people. Nobody had eaten. Just a recipe for a bad attitude and *short* conversation. *Letís be rid of these miracle-wanting gold diggers.* And, only verses later, Jesus had to insist or constrain or make or force his own disciples to later get into a boat without him.

I understand you here, Jesus.

Since they arenít going to leave me alone, I might as well do what I was sent to do. I think many congregants miss the point that pastors and preachers go from one extreme to another in very short time. I mean these are the only folks I know who will do a funeral on Friday and visit you in the hospital the same afternoon while they are making plans for a Saturday morning wedding knowing that, on Sunday, Godís people are expecting a fresh word. They continually pour out of themselves lavishing ministry on you and, many times, without a second thought about their own issues, trials or tribulations. As much as we pull on them and they pour out to us, I donít think we ever ask, Who is pouring into them? Who refreshes them?

Who gives them a drink of water when ministry feels like a barren desert?
Who consoles them when they are frustrated?
Who builds them up when they are weak?
Who tries to uplift their spirit?
Better yet, does anyone ever ask them, ďAre you ok?Ē

At some point, folk in ministry need to get away from the spotlight.
At some point, folk in ministry need to be prayer for.
At some point, folk in ministry need to be relieved and refreshed.

At some point, folk in ministry need to walk offstage, get a drink of water, enjoy quiet solitude, be with family and get some oxygen before going back out to center stage.

Itís not easy when people call your name and say hello to you in Walmart and you have no idea who they are and they want you to pray for them right there in the aisle. Itís not easy when youíre trying to enjoy a night out with your family at the movies and folks just approach and want to set up a meeting with you or better yet, just start talking anyway about the business for the Kingdom or whatever else.

Could you ever imagine that your pastor or preacher is literally putting other relationships on the line to meet your needs? Itís not a complaint, but, definitely a fact. Think of what they have missed and sacrificed for you:

They may have missed babyís first steps. A football game. A piano recital. A school play. A parent-teacher conference. A first date. Prom. Graduation. The disappointment of the first crush. A break up of a boyfriend or a girlfriend.

Itís not to say that they donít have balance. Itís to say that we need to make sure that they do. Sometimes, we need to leave those in ministry alone or go to another. Jesus was moved when he saw them and had pity on them. He opted to meet their needs anyway, despite personal challenges and obstacles.

Your pastor or preacher literally makes a decision to minister to you despite what may be happening in their own lives. Many times, that decision could have detrimental effects in their own life. Iím not saying that we donít want to minister to you. Iím saying that, in a day where many are walking away from ministry and the church, you should notice.

Neil M. Brown
12 June 2011
holla@neilbrown.org
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Essentials 2011   Gangsta Culture   TV: The Great Satan   Gil Scott-Heron   Wisdom   LEAVING THE STAGE   Pale Horse   Tribalism   Eddie Long