I don’t know anyone who wants to be miserable in anything, much less in serving the Lord, but some people give the appearance of working hard to achieve it.
Here are three self-destructive things (you’ll think of a hundred) we ministry-persons do which undermine our effectiveness in the work and fuel the angst of frustration which many people live with on a daily basis….
1) Expect to be paid what you think you’re worth.
Figure out what you are being paid, then total up the number of hours you put in, and divide the second into the first. The result is your wages per hour. Disgusting, ain’t it? (smiley-face here)
There is perhaps no more certain path to misery in the ministry than to estimate your own personal value based on such factors as years of training, the degrees you hold, and the tenure you have logged in the Lord’s work, and expect to be paid appropriately. If this misery is not enough for you, then figure in the number of children you have, the hours your spouse invests in the ministry too (all of it unpaid), and the errands your children run for church members. You will not, of course, ask to be recompensed for any of that, but dwelling on it makes you feel worse, and after all, that was the point in the first place.
In retirement, the math for certain misery gets easier. You were invited for a specific event–a retreat for which you were the speaker, a banquet you did, a revival you preached for a church–and when it was over they handed you a check. You have no trouble at all counting the miles you traveled, the hours you spent in your car, and the costs associated with your trip: meals, tips, dry cleaning bill, and other incidentals. Then, you figure out the actual number of hours/days at that church, and compare to the numbers on the check you were paid.