“I Don’t Wanna…”

You ever have the “I don’t wannas?” I do. I know. Pastors aren’t supposed to say that. We aren’t supposed to say that there are times when we just…don’t…want…to! In almost 20 years in ministry, I have heard people express their lack of desire more times than I can count. They have told me they don’t wanna go to church. They don’t wanna give up more family time to serve in another capacity. They don’t wanna be disciplined with their finances. They don’t wanna reconcile a marriage that is on the rocks. They don’t wanna forgive the person who has hurt them in ways that are too severe to repeat. They don’t wanna reconcile relationships with estranged family members or friends. They don’t wanna give up the habits that are destroying their lives and families. They don’t wanna….

I have those same feelings at times. I don’t wanna…I don’t wanna take another phone call where I’m informed that one of my former students has been arrested on suspicions of committing a heinous crime. I don’t wanna have another wife and mother from a family that everyone thought had things going their way sit in my office and tell me that she and her husband are ending their marriage. I don’t wanna go with another student to tell their parents that they are pregnant. I don’t wanna see another doctor walk into a waiting room to tell the family that things didn’t go well. I don’t wanna get another phone call late at night where I’m told that a car crash has claimed the life of a friend. I don’t wanna get another email or phone call informing me that another minister has been fired, whether as a result of his own moral failures or of a “lack of chemistry” among the staff. I don’t wanna have another family have to tell me that the child for which they have prayed and waited has resulted in a miscarriage. I don’t wanna see the hurt and pain in their eyes as they tell me and again as others in the church are rejoicing over the birth of their children. I don’t wanna see another church split over something as silly as the color of the carpet, the style of worship used, or the translation of the Bible from which the preacher preaches. I don’t wanna…

So, why don’t I quit? Why don’t I step away from ministry either for a season or permanently to avoid having to experience any of the above-mentioned things again? Why don’t I let my heart harden so it doesn’t hurt? Why don’t I ONLY focus on good that comes in both ministry and life? Why don’t I just shut up and not tell others how I feel since I’m not the only one who sometimes doesn’t wanna? Why? Here’s why: as much as I don’t wanna do those things above, I don’t wanna…check that…I can’t walk away from what God has called me to do. I can’t ignore that I have been tasked to share the only message that can give hope in the midst of those painful circumstances. I don’t wanna miss seeing God change lives as people learn to embrace the gospel. I don’t wanna allow my failures and my struggles with accepting the hard things prevent others from walking this journey with Christ. I don’t wanna miss what God has for my life and those to whom I have been called to serve. I don’t wanna miss being able to say with Paul that “I can do all things” through His strength. More than the struggles those things above bring, I don’t wanna miss God’s grace working powerfully in my life. I don’t wanna miss God doing “abundantly above all I can ask or thing.” I don’t wanna miss God’s #STRNGTH in my life. Ultimately, I don’t wanna miss God…Do you?