One of the challenges and tensions of ministry is that ministry is never complete. You never feel like you have arrived and you are never quite done. The minute you finish preaching a sermon you start preparing the next one. You lead a person to faith in Christ, and then start helping the person take steps towards maturity.
In the same way that a parent’s job is never finished no matter the age of their child(ren), so a pastor’s job is never done, no matter the size or maturity of the congregation. People are always in process and someone is always in crisis.
I’m not complaining, at least overly much. That’s just the nature of ministry. There are moments of satisfaction, but there are many more times of knowing that you have so much more to do and so much further to go.
Perhaps that’s why I find home improvement projects a good form of therapy. I can see a problem, design a job, demolish the old, purchase the materials, build and install the new, take the trash to the dump, and then step back and say, “I accomplished something.”
From Memorial Day to Labor Day this year, I have refinished a dining room set, stained and waterproofed the front and back decks on the house, and remodeled the laundry room. I don’t know if I needed more therapy this summer, but it is nice to build something from start to finish and feel a sense of “doneness.”