I thought this ‘rule’ of Edward Payson’s would provide some food for thought:
My rule, in regard to visiting, is to visit as much as time and health will permit. I make none but pastoral visits. I gave my people to understand, when I was settled (as their minister), that they must not invite me to dine or sup when they did not wish to have the conversation turn wholly on religious subjects. This has saved me much time and trouble (Legacy of a Legend, p109).
How much courage it takes to keep pastoral vigil. There are plenty of conversationalists who can discuss weather, politics, playoffs and children with our people. There are few who guide mouth and mind to gospel matters. I’m quite certain I fit into the former. It’s much easier that way.