To be a pastor

is to return, every

week, to face the hungry

crowds. To offer, in

and shaking hands, two loaves

and five fishes, knowing full well

it will never be enough.

You are not the one

who multiplies. You

are Elijah’s widow,

scraping handfuls of meal

from a nearly empty jar,

praying as the oil slips out

in slow and shining droplets.

To be a pastor,

you must brave the humility

of not enough, bringing what

has been given – no more,

no less – and waiting, weekly,

for the miracle of God’s

blessing, breaking,


– K. Chripczuk

* I wrote this poem several weeks ago and have been pondering it ever since.  In one sense, I believe it’s true – accurate – and, in another sense, it’s not.  There are times when there’s more than enough.  I think my main intention was to get at my belief that ministry (in particular preaching) is less about me and what I bring, and more about obedience to God, especially when that obedience means intentional restraint and the discipline of always pointing beyond my self to something/someone more. This phrase, “You are not the one who multiples,” is essential.

Reading through again, I see also how this poem might apply to parenting – the acceptance that what we have will never be enough, not completely, combine with the faithfulness of offering it anyway day-in and day-out. Perhaps the poem was written with pastoring (preaching) in mind, but it articulates a faith posture that’s more widespread. 

What do you think?  Pastor or not, I’d love to hear your impression. 

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