by Fr. Yeghia Hairabedian
Like any other newly-ordained priest, I began my ministry with many goals in mind and with much enthusiasm. However, the reality of the day-to-day administrative functions of the ministry-such as functioning as the office manager, making sure the church supplies have been ordered, that mailings are done and worrying whether or not every period and dot is in place in the monthly newsletter and bulletins and every name spelled correctly, in addition to overseeing all the church organizations-all this can be overwhelming and can seem to take away from the pastoral and spiritual priorities of the priest. In short, the calling of the priesthood may resemble that of a glorified secretary or a social director. Nevertheless, from time to time, incidents occur which make me say, “It is worth it after all.”
One such incident took place during an especially busy week. I was trying to get the church monthly newsletter out in the mail and the Sunday bulletin needed many corrections. That week there was much demand on my time from the junior youth group. In that hectic situation, I received a phone call from a former church member. The caller was a woman about 40 years of age. In a very disturbed tone of voice she asked if I would conduct her burial service. This woman wouldn’t give her name but she explained that due to various circumstances, she was extremely depressed and financially destitute, therefore she planned to commit suicide. She had a teenage daughter who, she said, “hates me,” and she had made arrangements for someone to adopt her after she killed herself.
In this critical situation, I spent same time talking to her an the phone. I was able to calm this lady down. Then, to the best of my ability, I explained to her that God loves her very much and that her life is very precious; so precious that God’s Son, Jesus Christ, died for her. The following week she visited me in my office. I prayed with her and encouraged her not to take her life, but to make a new start and to care for her teenage daughter.
Indeed, ministry is allowing God to heal the shattered lives of people. Ministry is having the privilege of helping people turn to God and His love. Whenever God is able to use me to help someone, I feel encouraged as a pastor, and I say to myself, “It was worth it after all.”