What does this mean? Everything, I guess. It means they have family pain and frustrations, that they wonder about their career path; it means they have money struggles or emotional pain or difficult habits -- just like those in the pew! This is not profound or new so why am I saying it? Because pastors are human, too.
Through the years I've heard this refrain and always thought it somehow diminished the pastor. I always considered the pastor a cut above, on a different plane. In some unusual sense he is, I guess, though I have no erudition for it. Perhaps his unusual calling places him in cruxes not unlike that of the Great Shepherd, cruxes without which he can never pastor.
But this matter of him being human is still to be heard. For as I know so very well first hand, pastors are human, too.
I realized this afresh this week as I faced that peculiar mix of fatigue, shortcomings, demands and emotional lows. Each factor interacts with the others to make some dispositions susceptible to real emotional pain, almost debilitating. Without the "almost".
The realization set me back on my heels. Would I like to overcome? I did overcome, but not immediately. There was suffering, humbling, learning, forced waiting. I am glad for the ordeal, but more glad to have endured.
Pastors are human, too. Don't imagine they can carry all the weight we too easily send them, whether imagined or real. It is their job to listen and help carry, but not to bear the whole load. Pastors are human, too.
That is all.
(None of this is reflection on my congregation. They are very gracious and forbearing. I do think the matter requires all the discipline a pastor can muster, and more. And they do not bat 1,000. Pastors are human, too!)