Ecclesiastes 7:19-22: "Wisdom makes one wise man more powerful than ten rulers in a city. There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins. Do not pay attention to every word people say, or you may hear your servant cursing you--or you know in your heart that many times you yourself have cursed others."
Seminary is wonderful but you can't learn everything there. The year I graduated from seminary, Christianity Today published a humorous column called "Things They Didn't Tell You at Your Seminary Graduation." It was subtitled "Some aphorisms for the brand-new pastor." I cut it out and saved it, and after all these years, I still have my copy, faded and worn, because the wisdom it contains seems timeless to me. Here are a few bits of advice from the column (with a few of my personal comments):
*If you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly. (Not one of my strong points)
*If you can't tell a joke, don't. (A really wise piece of advice)
*When you visit the hospital, don't sit on the bed or discuss your operation.
*Leave your German shepherd at home when you go to the Sunday School picnic.
*Take your German shepherd when you go to the local ministerial association.*Always remember to take the offering before the sermon.
*Don't be late for wedding or funerals. (They didn't mention this in seminary)
*Fifty-one Sundays of the year, preach so that the youngest child in your congregation can understand you. The fifty-second Sunday, preach so that the Ph.D, the Th.D, the Ed.D, and the M.D. are bewildered, awestruck, or filled with wonderment. (Good advice if you can do it)
*If a businessman phones you at 10:30 AM on Wednesday morning and says, "Pastor, I hope I didn't get you out of bed," don't become paranoid. Just answer, "No, you didn't. But come on over anyway after you're dressed and my wife will fix some breakfast for you." (I never used this line, but I wish I had.)
*When people comment on your sermon as they're going out the church door, don't take them very seriously. (Very true)*There are limits to participation in community life. You don't need to prove yourself by taking part in the annual rodeo.
*Love the teenagers in your congregation and they'll love you. The same is true of young adults, middle-age adults, and elderly adults.
*Most old people will love you even when you goof. Maybe more then. (Amen)
*Never surprise the chairman of your board. (Double amen)
*Remember that being a pastor is like being the lead dog in a team of Alaskan huskies. You're the only one who has a view and can see the horizon. So tell them what's like