Reading Eugene H. Peterson’s The Contemplative Pastor is just like seeing me in front of the mirror. Through his book, I’m asked to rethink about my ministerial life. At this time, I would like to share about my interaction with one of the chapters in the book, so-called the unbusy pastor. In this chapter, I’m asked to rethink the forgotten point. It is about the reason behind of my busyness.
Busyness is a word that I’d like to hear. I remember on one day my presbyter told me that he now sees that the pastors are working at the office. It seems that he likes this kind of lifestyle. At that time, for me, his statement has really made me proud of myself. I felt that what I did so far was not in vain. However, when I came across with Peterson’s reflection on the busyness, I must confess that he accurately shoots on the right target. He asks me to seek the reason behind of my busyness.
He describes the reason by exposing one beautiful statement, that is: I am busy because I am lazy. Peterson shocks me with his statement. How could a busy pastor be identical with laziness? However, Peterson writes that statement in the sense that the pastor may run from doing his/her original agenda and let the people who do not understand the pastoral calling to drive the agenda of the pastor. In other words, the busyness sometimes may be used as a mask to cover the laziness to minister according to his/her calling. To this extent, I think his explanation is partially relevant to my ministerial life since most of the times my presbyters give the freedom to every pastor to set their own agenda, program, and so on. Thank God for they still trust their pastors. Yet it doesn’t mean that I can run from Peterson’s warning totally since I’m still able to run from my first duty and doing the secondary.
I remember at once I ran from the first duty. At that time I saw friends who needed a pastor to visit a kid that had a cancer. Actually, I was free and able to join in that visitation. Yet I didn’t do it because I was not in the mood. What I was doing to run from the ministry is that I sat in front of my notebook and did something. I want them to see me as a busy man. And finally, they didn’t ask me to go. However, Peterson reminds me again about this embarrassing event. I pray that I will not repeat that foolish action by hiding behind the mask of my busyness.