BY DOROTHY BUDU-ARTHUR
Becky’s mouth was left ajar in shock when she heard me say that. But I knew that it was an honourable thing to do especially when I had the inclination that I didn’t know Mr. Simpson, and he had confirmed that it was rather to another Pastor whose name was similar to mine.
I wanted to hold Becky; to explain to her why I did that. But she looked at me as though I was acting crazy. She sulked. She looked like she wanted to cry. I could imagine what was going through her mind.
“Call him back and tell him that we already opened the package. And that our son hasn’t had jollof in a long while… And that he’s already hoping to eat jollof rice that afternoon… And that we actually thought these items were God’s answers to our prayers!” Becky said sentimentally as Obed looked at her wondering why the excitement in his mum’s voice had receded.
Just then the vehicle which had brought the items returned to our compound again. It was hard to imagine that the man had returned to take back all the items.
“Sir!” the driver said as he stepped out. “I am very sorry for the inconveniences caused. I had the wrong address. I was actually to deliver the items to a Pastor called Kelvin. But I heard the name from my boss rather as Kevin. And so when I got to the neighbourhood and asked about Pastor Kevin, I was directed to your home. Sorry about that.” He explained.
“But Mr. Simpson says that it’s okay. And that even though he doesn’t know you, he would want to sow into your life because you are a man of God. And he deems it honourable that you actually called back to let him know that you weren’t sure the items were to you. So I returned not to take back the items. Rather, my boss asked that I bring to you again this other envelope containing some money.”
I was shocked to hear that. And so was Becky. We called Mr. Simpson again just to confirm because it was hard for us to believe. He explained that he had the inclination after I spoke to him to sow into my life with the items and the money. I was in awe: awe of what the Lord can do! It was a miracle for us.
As we thanked the driver and then he left, Becky and I took the items into the house. We both couldn’t believe what the Lord had done. The packages had lots of food items which could last us for months. And the first envelop contained 500 Ghana Cedis whiles the one which as later brought in by the driver contained 3000 Ghana Cedis. In less than an hour the Lord blessed us with that lot through a total stranger.
Living as a man of God has been one full of miracles. Sometimes I am pushed to that point of despair where I wonder if God is really for me. Sometimes I struggle with the flesh and with lust. I have dry moments. Moments that I feel like there is nobody to talk to.
There were times that things were so hard that my wife Becky would not let me have her. She gave the excuse that she doesn’t want to get pregnant since we won’t be able to take care of the children. There were times that I just want to talk to her, but Becky would be emotionally unavailable just because she couldn’t bear the struggle.
There were times that I couldn’t feel God near. Yet with all these struggles I was expected to minister to my congregation, and to be there for them every time as their pastor. I understand that in the Old Testament the Lord promised to be the portion for the Levites. But sometimes it was hard to feel him close.
A lot is expected from me as a pastor and as a man of God that most forget that I am also human. Sometimes I wonder who would be praying for me. I wonder who would also give me counsel. I know you might say that the Holy Spirit is there for me, and that my wife Becky is there. But I could be just like any other human being, with struggles and shortcomings and having to deal with temptations.
I actually have struggles too. Yet I am expected to be a father to everyone. To give a shoulder for someone to lean on, to give a listening ear; to pray for all my members. I am expected to visit all my members. I am expected not to be angry or have any weaknesses. Lest my own church leaders and members start to call me names.
Sometimes my own leaders are quick to talk about my flaws and my weaknesses. Yet I wonder how many of them pray for me that I’d become a better pastor. Sometimes some of them capitalise on my weaknesses, just to establish to the congregation that I can’t pastor them. Some of my congregants are quick to hold meetings in their homes and work places about me! Not meetings however to even pray for me as their pastor or even pray for my family. But meetings to discuss me! Meetings to discuss the weaknesses of their Pastor!
I am ‘expected’ not to have struggles with sexual sin as a man of God! I’m expected to be able to deal with all the ladies in my church who come to me for counselling dressed skimpily; sometimes bringing out all their figure and showing their cleavages. I am expected not to complain! I am expected to act like ‘ I don’t see’! I am expected to ‘be in the Spirit’ at all times! All because I am a man of God!
And yes I try! I do try! I cry onto God every time to help me to honour him! But the struggle is real! And maybe greater, because for both my home and my congregation, I am the Head! I am the leader! I am the Shepherd. And as the scriptures say, “Strike the Shepherd, and the flock of the sheep will be scattered.”
I guess I should be called Human of God! That way, my congregation would appreciate that I am also made of earth just like them. And just as when the shepherd is out in the field with his sheep they all deal with harsh weather conditions, thirst, and even have to deal with the scorching sun, so do I also sometimes experience those struggles that they also have.
When they tell me, Pastor pray for us! I do pray for them. But I wonder how many pray for me, or for my family. I wonder how many would visit me, or even share a word of encouragement with me. I wonder how many would want to water my life, just as I also water theirs.
Maybe the church expects a man of God to be a ‘Superman’. Maybe the church isn’t praying for its pastors and shepherds and their families. No wonder many of my fellow Pastors are falling. Maybe the church has forgotten that Pastors and shepherds are but humans who have responded to the call of God.
Jesus was God in flesh, yet at the garden of Gethsemane as the hour of his betrayal was approaching, ‘He began to be grieved and greatly distressed. Then he said to his disciples, “STAY HERE AND STAY AWAKE AND KEEP WATCH WITH ME”.
And HE CAME TO THE DISCIPLES AND FOUND THEM SLEEPING, and he said, “SO YOU COULD NOT STAY AWAKE AND KEEP WATCH WITH ME? KEEP ACTIVELY WATCHING AND PRAYING THAT YOU MAY NOT COME INTO TEMPTATION!”
Keep watch with your pastor! Keep praying with him! Water his life and his family! Encourage him!
Thanks for reading.
By Dorothy Budu-Arthur