Over the years, I have been part of many different-sized churches, from small (meeting in a borrowed space with chairs that had to be set up each week) to large (what would probably be considered a “mega-church”). Regardless of how many people attend worship services as a given congregation, though, or how many staff members are supporting them, the job of a minister, pastor, or church leader always seems to be bigger than the person filling the role. No matter the number of people supporting a congregation, there’s just too much work to go around.
Of course, this is a good reminder that only God can give the strength to shepherd His flock, and that each follower of Jesus should contribute to the body as they are able (even if they aren’t “officially” in formal church leadership).
However, I sometimes take away a different conclusion from this constrained situation: As a long-time church member, watching the busy lives of congregational leaders, I sometimes feel a little guilty for taking up their time. Sure, it doesn’t hurt to send a word of encouragement, or to offer to help where I can. When I need to get on staff member’s calendar, though, I wonder if I’m taking away from their limited amount of mental energy, or consuming valuable time that could be spent with others in the church (whose needs might be greater than mine).
When I need to talk with a pastor, have lunch with a staff member to plan out a ministry activity, or otherwise consume a portion of another person’s day, I wonder if I’m using up more than my “allotment” of time. I may mentally divide a leader’s annual “availability” by the number of congregants, and keep tally of whether or not I’ve exceeded my share.
Those who shepherd others within a local congregation (or even an adjacent ministry) are not alone, though, in being stretched out to serve lots of people. Even Jesus was mobbed by those who sought out His healing, or – in some cases – just a chance to see them.
Have you read this verse from the book of Luke?
“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.
Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.”
Luke 8:45 NLT
Jesus was in a crowd of people on all sides, and I get the impression that they weren’t maintaining the “social distance” that some cultures follow. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, people were bumping into Him as He went from place to place.
Yet, even in this throng of people, Jesus was able to heal a woman who had nowhere else to go for a cure. In addition to that woman, I expect that there were many people that day who heard Jesus’ teachings, and by reading more from Luke 8 (see Luke 8:40-56), we can see that Jesus was already on His way to another mission, to heal a little girl.
Imagine if this woman had decided that Jesus was too busy to help her, or if He (as some of us might have done) became too focused on one opportunity that He couldn’t stop and address another one. Of course, that didn’t happen here. If it had, though, not only would the woman’s illness have remained uncured, but this opportunity – for Jesus to teach an important lesson – would have been missed.
I can’t tell you whether or not God has made time in a specific believer’s life today, for you to be blessed by them (or to return the favor). However, I encourage you to err on the side of honest dialogue with others, and to ask for help when you need it. God created the Body of Christ (that is, the church) as a community of people for a reason, and being part of that body means that you are not alone.
Still, even if you are seeking help from others, and they aren’t able to help (whether due to other constraints on their calendar, a lack of skills to aid you, or any other reason), remember that Jesus is always available. We can boldly ask God – in Jesus’ name – for healing, guidance, peace, or anything else. When we talk with God, there is no busy signal, no “hold” music, and no menu to get through. He is always there, available to hear our cries and our pleadings, and powerful enough to help.
Don’t ever think that God is too busy for you!