Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

A Calling or a Job?

Matthew 20:26-28

26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

As I approach retirement – one things comes to mind often – and that is are ministers called or is ministry a job? I believe in the last few decades – some pastors have taken the approach that their ministry is a job. I had interns that didn’t understand the fact that pastors were called to be available 24-7. They thought they could respond to emergencies on their time schedule rather than the situation. This is a major approach difference. I will explain.

I believe we are all called to be servant ministers to our Lord – not only the pastors – all of us – to be servants of the Lord. Along this line – a few years ago – I was asked why some pastors are not as involved in the community as they used to be? I know some pastors are for sure. Here was my answer (this came up on one of my pages recently).

That is a complex question or issue. Some pastors today are no less committed to their calling than pastors of earlier generations. What we have found over the years – the hard way – is that our families were often sacrificed on the altar of serving God.

Being a pastor is a high calling – but the divorce rate and broken family rate and even early retirement rate of pastors leads the way in many studies – partly because of the time spent away from the family. Being a pastor is not a 9-5 job where the family can plan around work hours. Being a pastor is a 24-7 calling. In my younger days – I would work 70-80 hours most weeks and at times more. There were times I wasn’t there for my wife and my children because of it. Maybe the Romans Catholics have a point in having their priests marry the church! Having said that – I have been a better grandparent than I was a parent. I attend less meetings and fellowship times at church – realizing the church will not fall a part because I do not attend – and that the church is more than the pastor and his or her presence (some in my church folks have complained about this though).

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October 23, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Servants of The Lord

Matthew 20:26-28

26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Ray 2020We are all called to be servant ministers to our Lord – not only the pastors – all of us – to be servants of the Lord. Along this line – a few years ago – I was asked why some pastors are not as involved in the community as they used to be? I know some pastors are for sure. Here was my answer (this came up on one of my pages recently).

That is a complex question or issue. Some pastors today are no less committed to their calling than pastors of earlier generations. What we have found over the years – the hard way – is that our families were often sacrificed on the altar of serving God.

Being a pastor is a high calling – but the divorce rate and broken family rate and even early retirement rate of pastors leads the way in many studies – partly because of the time spent away from the family. Being a pastor is not a 9-5 job where the family can plan around work hours. Being a pastor is a 24-7 calling. In my younger days – I would work 70-80 hours most weeks and at times more. There were times I wasn’t there for my wife and my children because of it. Maybe the Romans Catholics have a point in having their priests marry the church! Having said that – I have been a better grandparent than I was a parent. I attend less meetings and fellowship times at church – realizing the church will not fall a part because I do not attend – and that the church is more than the pastor and his or her presence (some in my church folks have complained about this though). Continue reading

April 16, 2020 Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Called To Serve

Mark 10:45

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Life ChangeToday’s thought is a quick reminder for all of us who feel a calling to lead. If we are called to lead – we are called to serve. Leaders in the church – be it pastors – Bible study leaders – Sunday School teachers – church officers – office staff – church staff – and more – are called to be servant ministers rather than dictators. Can I get an amen?

If we are followers of Christ – it should be more about whom we serve than the positions we hold. Some people work hard for title or position – rather than to serve. Some people can’t wait to be called teacher – pastor – reverend – church leader – when it shouldn’t matter what we are called – we should all be serving Jesus and serving others. Let’s keep that in mind sisters and brothers. We’re called to serve! If we are called to lead – we are called to serve. Continue reading

May 7, 2019 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fishing For Men and Women

Matthew 4:19

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

I have a number of friends who love to fish. I never really got into it – I get motion sick very easily – but wouldn’t mind sitting on a shoreline somewhere on a lazy summer day with a line in the water. My friends post pictures of some of their favorite fishing holes on Facebook. They really enjoy fishing. It must be very exciting and relaxing to them.

A friend of mine from a former church is really into fishing. He often posts pictures of fish he has caught on Facebook. He gets some big ones. He and another friend go deep water fishing at times. My friend’s youngest son has taken an interest in fishing as well and they are often together at their favorite fishing hole – as seen on his Facebook page! He brought a dozen or more rods to church one Sunday for a prop for a sermon series titled Gone Fishing or something like that. I miss this friend dearly! We both play golf and need to do more of it together this coming season. Continue reading

December 11, 2017 Posted by | Advent Thought, Build, Christmas, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Because You Say So Lord!

Luke 5:5

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Did we have parents who would say something to us – and we would ask why – they would respond – because I say so? Some parents used that line (I can’t remember my father ever using it but I may have once or twice). Did you? It is a common lines used by many parents.

As parents – we might have wished that our children would respond yes simply because we asked them to do something – after all – we are the parents! Too often – I imagine – that wasn’t the response we got. Sometimes they might have asked why – at times they may have said no – still other times they may have simply ignored us – and on occasion they may have said yes. When they asked why – did we ever say – because I say so? Continue reading

September 25, 2017 Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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