Karen Dumey

Thought of the Week

The Rev. Karen Dumey is the pastor of Hunter Memorial First Presbyterian Church in Sikeston.


Remember to love yourself

Friday, September 8, 2023

This past Sunday I did something I rarely do. I missed a Sunday worship service I was supposed to lead. In my many years as a pastor, I may have missed worship due to illness just one other time. That does not mean that I have been healthy each and every Sunday I have preached. I have preached while having fevers, colds, and while I could barely speak. I have been in the pulpit during coughing fits, while standing on painful joints and feet, and once while passing a kidney stone. Even the death of my own father could not keep me away from the pulpit. He died late on a Friday and I was leading worship that Sunday.

This time, while at home ill while my congregation was praising the Lord, I reflected on all of the times I have been ill yet dragged myself to church. Why am I so determined to always be there? Well, the easiest explanation is that I am the one who preaches. I do not want to put last-minute pressure on whoever will have to fill in for me. I take a lot of time during the week to read, reflect, pray and write a sermon. Expecting a person to just jump up and preach is a lot.

But I think the real reason I feel I have to be in worship every Sunday is because I am a minister. This is how I serve God and humanity. When your profession is in the service of God, your focus is on saying “yes” in order to fulfill the needs of others. What I and many ministers are guilty of is not saying “yes” to ourselves. Oftentimes we are not good at taking care of ourselves, and so we can suffer physically, emotionally and spiritually. Are you like me? If so, let us remember the third part of the following quote from scripture and remember to love ourselves.

“He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’: and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Luke 10:27

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