Which is a real shame, because like many pastors, I am in the habit of leaving for any meeting pretty darn close to the time I should be arriving at the meeting. Pro tip: driving anywhere takes time, especially if you’re taking the Beltline.
I suspect that I share this dilemma with more than a few of you. Despite our attempts to fit an increased number of tasks into our week, the clock stubbornly remains limited to one hundred and sixty eight hours. We have to pick and choose how to spend our time - and energy. Like everyone else on this planet, we are finite human beings, with a finite ability to keep going. When the unexpected happens, something always has to give. Sometimes it’s our health. Sometimes it’s our intended priorities. When we juggle too many projects, we forget things, or experience frustrating delays in getting back to things we know are important.
True confessions: pastors are humans too. Sometimes we never get to the personal visit we intend to make. Sometimes we compose a carefully worded email instead of making a phone call, or fire off a less-carefully worded email at odd hours.
This being a long way of saying, although I have never been a passionate fan of the Apostle Paul, as a pastor, I find myself inclined to offer him more grace than I once was. He was the Energizer Bunny of pastors, with thousands of miles traveled by foot and more by sea.
Since he couldn’t be in all these places at once, he had to be creative about staying in touch. Not having email or telephone available to him, he would have to rely on updates carried by travelers – sometimes personal conversations, and sometimes letters. There would be a substantial delay in receiving the news.
In the way of grapevine conversations everywhere, what he learned may not have been good or accurate news. Is it any wonder that Paul’s most common type of writing was the cranky pastor letter?