Posted on November 29th, 2012
Walter Trobisch was visiting a pastor in Africa whose marriage and health was suffering because of the incessant demands of parishioners. Here is the dialogue between Trobisch and Pastor Daniel, as recounted inI Married You:
“It’s not only the telephone. The visitors and callers, too, are a problem. They come at any time.”
“I can see no other solution. You must decide on certain hours when you are available, and then post these times on the door.”
Daniel said, “Africans wouldn’t understand it. They would think it is very impolite. It is against their traditions.”
“Listen, my brother, if you would come to Germany, and I would take you to any local parish, I can promise you that the pastor there has the same problem. It’s a question of whether you are obedient to your customs or to your calling. You know the story about the lighthouse keeper. It was his responsibility to keep the light burning and supplied with oil night and day. The lighthouse guided ships as they passed through a dangerous strait. The people of the nearby village would come to the lighthouse keeper and would ask him for just a little bit of oil for their lamps. he was too good-natured ever to say ‘no.’ So he gave away his supply of oil little by little. One day, there was no oil left and the light went out. A ship went on the rocks and sunk. His good-naturedness had caused the death of many.”
I’m not sure how a pastor responsibly sets limits, but it appears I’m not alone in this problem.