Doing Too Much . . . Smiling Too Little

The Christian worker is a strange breed. He or she often wants it to look as if the work is terribly hard. In fact, the more difficult and strained the look, the better.

Smiling Man
(Image from Pixabay)

Christian workers are notorious for what I call the “tired blood” look, better known as the outdated “missionary image.” Or, better stated, the exhausted, overburdened “religious image.”

They usually carry an old, worn-out Bible and walk with a slump, listing to port. They seldom smile—sort of a “please pity me” image. Makes me want to gag!

Now, I don’t mean to be supercritical. (After all, I, too, am a Christian worker.) The tragic reality is that many of these folks are overworked and some hardly have enough to live on.

But I believe you can be in full-time ministry without having to resemble the “poor-me” stereotype. Abraham Lincoln quipped, “Every man over forty is responsible for his own face!” That’s a great word!

The happiest people on earth ought to be those of us in God’s service. And we ought to look like it. We have every reason to smile more than anyone else.

Even though our work is terribly serious, we ought to have more fun and enjoy our calling more than anybody in any other realm of work.

I also believe an individual in cross-cultural ministry or a local pastor ought to be able to enjoy his or her taste in music and live it up, just like anybody else. Here’s some help from the Scriptures:

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Those who minister well are those who truly enjoy life and who serve Christ and His church enthusiastically. Do it with a smile! We really don’t need to spend all our time on the negatives of life; there are enough heart-breaking experiences to go around for everybody.

You and I both know that ministry is not an easy calling. There are times when you must work longer than you should. And those times can occur back to back. But we as pastors and Christian workers don’t need a reminder to work harder.

We need a reminder of another sort:

You’re making your job harder than it should be. Share the load. Lighten up! Your work can be easier. Ask someone to help you get these things done. Pay attention to your face!

It’s entirely possible that you’re doing too much . . . and unless I miss my guess, you’re likely smiling too little.

—Chuck

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  • Ed Choy

    Pastor Chuck, as a pastor, husband, father of three young boys, and DMin student at dts I know how busy and full life can be. I am working in a church/ministry culture that seems to value un-fun ministry! But one of my core values is fun, especially after reading your book Laugh Again the first year I was saved, back in 1996! Thank you for your timely and wise words. I might just have some fun today and say no to something!

  • Pierre Franco

    Thank you for the reminder Pastor Chuck. My dad taught me well in that regard. He absolutely abhors that mind set of having to look or act like the “tired blood” type. He always said that we Christians should be the happiest people on earth.