Of course, we live in a different time. Luther, as much as technology of that day aided his work, would have been even busier with a laptop, printer, internet, and social media. Course, he probably would have been kicked off of social media pretty quick. In any case, the manifold tools of today's technology make it possible for me to do a lot of work in less time than it took him and I still have not translated the Bible yet! But the nature of the work has also changed.
As important as sermons are -- and they are VERY important -- people have other expectations of a pastor (right or wrong). I preach at least once a week (even with an associate) and half the time I preach twice weekly. And during the seasons of Advent and Lent, that can double. That does not count the occasional sermons for funerals, etc... Our people have come to expect sermons of substance and not brief ones either. In the weekday Eucharist, sermons run 12 minutes or more and on Sundays 15-18 minutes. In addition, my associate and I teach a couple of Bible studies a week. Yet, our people, like most parishioners, expect a host of other things from their pastor(s).
I am not sure how well Luther might do with the other part of the typical work of pastors today. Let us be honest. Luther could speak like none of us can speak today (and still expect people to show up next Sunday). Pastors have to be a bit more diplomatic in conveying the truths of God's Word, counseling God's people from that Word, and addressing them as a spiritual father in God's household. It is not that Luther was without a heart -- he was a man of great compassion. But Luther was not necessarily a man of great patience. Like Luther we are called to be pastors of endurance but what we must endure is not quite the same. Now, you can complain about this difference all the day long, or, you can simply accept the fact that times and people have changed. But that does not mean we need to work less hard or that we can afford to be silent where the Word must be spoken.
As hard as it can be to write so many sermons and stay on top of Bible studies and do all the other stuff that pastors do, I think the hardest part of the job is trying to be blunt and still speak in love, trying to be honest and truthful with God's people without sounding like we are angry with them, and trying to listen when sometimes what you want to do is scream. In short, a pastoral temperament cannot afford to be arrogant or condescending or judgmental or rude BUT the Word requires us also to be faithful, clear, and pointed in the application of God's Word to God's people. I do not know about other pastors but this is what I sweat most of all -- speaking the truth in love to the people you fear are going to bolt and head into the arms of some church less than faithful. But that is what a spiritual father does to the people in his household.
Pastors, we think we work hard -- and most of us do -- but let us never forget the hard work of listening to our people, discerning their needs, and addressing them as clearly and forthrightly as possible while speaking to them in love. Of course this happens in sermons. But it does not only happen in sermons. Much of this happens in the regular pastoral care that occupies a good deal of our time and a great amount of our anxiety, angst, and energy. Maybe I think too little of Luther. Perhaps he would have done just fine in our day with a different landscape around him. Maybe not. Who really knows? But as Luther worked hard for the people in his care in his day, I must also work hard for the people in my care in my day. And so must every pastor. But especially those who claim his legacy.