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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Shepherd or Starbucks?



For me, the ministry is more than a profession. Perhaps it’s that understanding that keeps me in the game.

I admit: there have been times in my ministry when I’ve been enticed to believe that a position in a corporate setting would be more attractive. And, when times are unusually testing (like when the sheep are biting, not listening), I’m tempted to trade my shepherd’s staff for a position as a barista at a high-quality coffee establishment.


It’s easy to see the lushness of a profession different than the one we’re in—especially when our soul is dry, thirsty, and desperate. It’s tempting to convince ourselves: there’s a better team to join than the one we’re on, or that we deserve better than we’re getting. But here’s the thing…


…At the end of the day, I understand that I was—and am—chosen; called by God to shepherd the flock. Ministry is endurable, rewarding, and fulfilling when things are going well.


My vocation, to which I’m called, is equally manageable, gratifying, and satisfying even in times of dryness and desperation when I remember my calling.


Parker Palmer reminds us:


“Vocation does not come from willfulness. It comes from listening. I must listen to my life and try to understand what it is truly about—quite apart from what I would like it to be  about—or my life will never represent anything real in the world, no  matter how earnest my intentions.”


That’s the difference between choosing a profession and being called to a vocation. The soul of leadership begins with our authentic self. Not who we think we are, would like to be, or who others believe us to  be.


Looking through the rearview mirror, I see how God has and continues to use the peculiarities of my life; my heritage, personality, shortcomings, weaknesses, mistakes, and passions.


Shepherds need to eat, too. They need refreshment, rest, and times to enjoy the scenery. Here’s what I’ve learned (and continue to discover): I’m more prone to see the lushness of a new profession when I’ve neglected the care of my soul.


The Psalmist (quite familiar with shepherding) acknowledged his own need for a shepherd:


“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”


If you’re tempted to trade your staff for a career at Starbucks, perhaps it’s time to find refreshment for your soul! May the Lord be your refreshment, today and always.


-Richard Parrish


 

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maura
May 04

Today, it's Starbucks... and I completely dislike Starbucks. The clarity is coming back and peace is trickling in, but what I wouldn't give for a glassy pool of refreshment. Thanks for the word Richard, always sweet.

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