Flat tires and flexible schedules

It’s 6:30 in the morning and my cell phone is ringing.  As a youth pastor, that’s usually not a good sign.

“Hello,” I answer.flat-tire

“You’re never going to believe this, but I’m on the side of the interstate,” my wife replies.  “I blew a tire.”

I told you it usually wasn’t good.

By the time I got there, the roadside assistance man had arrived to change the tire.  I gave my car to my wife and then I proceeded to get some new tires.  For the next four hours, I sat in the tire store waiting on a two-hour repair.   It threw my entire schedule off.   By the time I made into the office, it was after lunch.  Needless to say, I didn’t get a lot of work done that day.

As a youth pastor, I have a flexible schedule.  I don’t punch a time clock and I don’t have a certain amount of widgets to make in a day.  Sometimes ministry calls me out of my routine, like when I have to rush off to the hospital or someone drops by for counseling.   Sometimes it’s life that interrupts, like a sick child or a flat tire on my wife’s car.  It’s during those times that I take advantage of my flexible schedule to benefit my family.

I didn’t always have that attitude.  There was a time I resented being the one who had to stay home to handle problems or run errands during my work day.   I took my job seriously and felt the need to put in several office hours.

Now, I sing a different tune.  I gladly take care of a broken down car, stop by to pay the bill, or stay home with my sick daughter (as long as it’s not a Wednesday).  I realized that my job as a youth pastor often collides with family time, occasionally on short-notice.  Many of my nights are spent in the stands cheering on a student or attending a meeting of our local youth ministry network.  At least one day a month, I’m at church preparing or leading an event for our students.  I calculated that I spend at least one month a year apart from my family at camps, mission trips, youth trips and overnighters.

Since I spend so much time away from my family, the least I can do is use my flexible schedule to handle the problems of life. I get to play hero by taking care of a sick child, paying a bill before it’s late or rescuing my wife from the side of the interstate.

We often lament the late nights and odd hours of our job.  Make up for it by taking advantage of the days you’re needed.

Not everyone has the time to be a hero.  Maybe you actually do, at least with your family.

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