Recently I’ve been writing “confessions.” I wrote a confession about my quiet time, and I wrote a confession about family devotions. Here’s my third confession: I’m not a people person.
To those who know me best, this comes as no surprise. I’m not particularly patient, I’m easily irritated, and I’m not very talkative. Spending too much time around people makes me feel exhausted. I’d rather be alone than in a crowd. As opposed to being people oriented, my personality is very much task oriented. I like lists, projects, and goals. I like checking off lists, finishing projects, and accomplishing goals. Unfortunately, this means I often see people as an obstacle to my “tasks.” I often see people as an interruption to the progress I want to make in various “tasks.”
Ironically, as a pastor, I’ve spent the last ten years of my life working with people. Along the way, I’ve learned a few things about myself and a few things about people.
- God loves people which means I should love people. That’s the heart of the gospel. 1 John 4:10 is clear, In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:11 is equally clear, Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love on another.
- As a pastor I have lots of tasks, but people are my job. I’m called to teach people. I’m called to shepherd people. I’m called to listen to people. I’m called to counsel people. I’m called to love people. This means I have to force myself to focus on people even though it doesn’t come naturally.
- God wired me a certain way, but that is no excuse for not caring about people. Being task oriented is not necessarily right or wrong, and it has both strengths and weaknesses. However, being task oriented does not give me (or you) an excuse for not being intentional about caring for people.
- God has used the churches I’ve pastored to further my sanctification. Left to myself, I would be content to live as a recluse. However, God has used his people to grow me and change me. Without the church, I’d be a grumpy hermit. With the body of Christ, I’m slowly becoming more of a “people person.”
Originally published August 1, 2016 on landoncoleman.com.