“You think now your job is to be an unpaid doctor, to run around and plug up the holes and make everything smooth. … You say role. I say you don’t know what your role is or you’d be home locked in prayer. There is your role: to make yourself an exemplar of faith. There is where comfort comes from: faith, not what little finagling a body can do here and there, stirring the bucket. In running back and forth you run from your duty given you by God, to make your faith powerful, so when the call comes you can go out and say to them, ‘Yes, he is dead, but you will see him again in Heaven. Yes, you suffer, but you must love your pain because it is Christ’s pain.’ When on Sunday morning then, when we go before their faces, we must walk up not worn out with misery but full of Christ. …”
To our modern proactive, get-it-done, make-things-happen way of thinking, this all seems very counter-productive. Pastors can't sit still that long—we think we have to fix everyone’s problems. And congregations won't tolerate, for very long, a pastor who doesn't make better use of his time. However, this, along with the ministry of the Word, is the main thing—it is the divine calling, the hard work for which we have been commissioned.
Here's the link: http://online.worldmag.com/2012/03/29/a-sermon-from-john-updike/