My friend and mentor Dr. James Richardson used to tell of a neighboring pastor who constantly griped about how busy he was. “That was the laziest preacher on the planet,” said James.
In reflecting on over sixty years of service in the Kingdom, I suspect that what sometimes comes across as laziness is more a lack of focus. When a minister goes through his days without a clear purpose other than reacting to everything that comes up, he will accomplish so little that he and others may see him as lazy.
Here are a few ways a minister can tell he is lazy. (Synonyms would include apathetic, lethargic, sluggish, slothfulness. But “lazy” communicates, doesn’t it?)
1. Procrastination. You cannot bring yourself to do the unpleasant tasks, but keep putting off the difficult tasks.
I’ve read that successful people in the business world determine to tackle the hardest, most unpleasant jobs first. They get them out of the way so they can enjoy the rest of their day. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
That would take a self-discipline many of us lack.
2. Impatience. You will not do any ministry that is not easy or does not have an immediate payoff.
If that family down the street says they want to join my church, okay, I’ll go see them. However, if they do not go to church and show no signs of ever wanting to, and a friend suggests we call on them, the lazy pastor will beg off. He just cannot bring himself to do it.
When my daughter lived in a small New Hampshire town, one day I walked with my granddaughters to the Baptist church two blocks down the street. I informed a staff member that the daddy had no interest in church and the mother, my daughter, was working and going to school all the time, but these children would love church. And they needed a loving congregation. When I returned home to New Orleans, I wrote that pastor two letters. Not only did I never get a response, no one ever reached out to my family. I confess I find it hard to imagine how these people thought they were serving God. In my mind, they were working for a paycheck and little else. Am I being too harsh? Maybe so.