From Alistair Bain, reflections on pastoral life flowing from the life of Muhammad Ali:
I hear some church leaders say things like “it’s better to burn out than rust out” and “there’s no such thing as retirement for a preacher” or “preach until you drop” and I think I know what they are saying. They want to make sure that pastors in their twilight don’t become self-centred shell-collectors who are putting down their crosses and taking up their travel guides.
But I want to say that sometimes people need to stop. And they need to be allowed to stop. Even when it looks as though they have decades left in them.
Sometimes pastors need to be told that it’s OK to retire and to find contentment in being a quiet, encouraging member of a local church. Someone who sweeps the paths on a Saturday, pours the coffee on a Sunday, prays for his family and his neighbours and his church each morning, reads the paper every day, spends time in the garden each afternoon, preaches rarely, if ever, and leaves the running of churches, and “the church” to others. I can’t think of anything wrong with a life that looks like that.
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