I have a simple New Year's goal for pastors: have more fun in church this year.
Extensive, expensive research shows that positive pastors live 13 percent longer and make 27 percent more money than their pessimistic peers. (I just made that up, but I won't get into trouble because my mother is probably the only one still reading at this point.)
Since attitudes are difficult to measure, we have to look honestly into the mirror of God's Word to see what God (and everyone around us) sees.
Colossians 3:22-23 (CSB) says, "Don't work only while being watched, as people-pleasers, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people."
Pastors set the tone in our churches, and sometimes our tone is terrible.
It is safe to say that every single person you will see this Sunday is in need of encouragement. Some of them will limp into church this weekend because their holidays were horrible. Others lost their Christmas cheer when they got hammered with work at the end of their vacation.
This little passage reminds us to spread some of that Christmas cheer throughout the rest of the year by serving the Lord wholeheartedly and enthusiastically.
Serve the Lord wholeheartedly.
This first term is a compound word describing a heart which is at the same time sincere and without pretense. Please do not confuse having fun with faking it. We are all going to have bad days, even on Sundays. If every Sunday is a bad day however, then it is time to stop blaming our disposition on other people and ask God to change our own hearts.
Serve the Lord enthusiastically.
This second term can be translated either as "enthusiastically" (NIV) or "from the heart" (CSB). It means to be engaged. If you find yourself just going through the motions of ministry, ask God to rekindle your flame. Refuse to settle for mere survival this year.
You likely already have a few measurable ministry goals for 2018—but remember that our attitude is just as important to the Lord as our actions.
In 1989, Bert and John Jacobs designed their first T-shirt. For five years, the brothers hawked T-shirts in the streets of Boston and traveled the East Coast, selling door-to-door in college dorms. They often slept in their van and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
One fateful September day, the Jacobs brothers printed up 48 "Life is Good" tee-shirts, then placed them on a rickety card table for a local street fair in Cambridge, Massachusetts. By noontime, all 48 of those tees were gone. Today, the New England based brand is a global enterprise with countless positive products and events. These guys clearly tapped into something important.
The beautiful bride of Christ has so much more to offer than happy T-shirts and coffee mugs, so why would the house of God not be the happiest hangout in town? Join me in making a commitment to serving the Lord wholeheartedly and enthusiastically this year. God expects it, our members deserve it, and quite frankly, we all need it.
This article originally appeared at lifeway.com.
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