One of the quotes I have often used about being a pastor is as follows, "The church would be so much easier to lead if there were not all those people." I understand the church is the people, and without people we do not have the church. However, when working with people the level of frustration can get very high. I guess it is not working with people that creates the frustration directly. I continue to make a classic mistake of trusting people to make an assessment of their own life. The place where I get caught most with this is in the area of spiritual maturity.
We all know people who have journeyed with God for a while and have been developing in their understanding with God. Now people who have reached deeper levels of maturity rarely talk about their maturity, or compare theirs with others, but the problem comes when claims are made which are not supported by actions. I am amazed by the number of people in churches who have made claims about their level of maturity, yet continue to function as infants. As is true in all aspects of life we want the bonus of being a grown up, with out the responsibilities. We want to do what we want to do, until it gets hard, then we want someone else to do it.
I want to be clear at this point I am not placing blame on anyone but myself. People are people, and I think I would learn. My biggest mistake is I tend to give people too much credit for their journey. Perhaps this is the tragedy of an optimist. As I continue to grow up and get burned by seeing the best in people, only to come up short, I am learning some hard lessons. The lesson I am wrestling with today is that people, no matter what they claim, want someone who is going to tell them what they need to be doing, and to hold their hand as they do it.
So while, I think people are much more capable than they are, a notion I am not willing to give up, I am learning to be more directive. Something I expect to do with people who are new to the journey with God, but I am learning more people are still in that early stage than I like to think.
Growing up is hard to do. Still that is what we are called to do. We cannot be infants in our faith our whole life. We are to go on to maturity. It is not easy, we have to do things we don't want to. But that is all part of growing up.