A thought for those who minister to others…

Posted: August 31, 2009 in Ministry

I think all of us would agree that sin carries negative consequences with it. The scriptures are blatantly clear on this one. That’s why we can look a teen, young adult or grown man who’s been sleeping with his pregnant girlfriend in the eye, and tell him we aren’t surprised that their lives are getting more troubled. It’s because of sin. When a junior high student gets grounded for breaking his parents’ curfew and needs to miss the lock-in, we take advantage of the chance to expound on the truth that disobedience causes problems. Yes, even if there were phenomenal extenuating circumstances leading up to the decision! The wages of sin is death.

One of the modern day ‘witches’ we hunt in our evangelical teaching is “situational ethics.” People today are hopelessly trapped by having to decide when something is right or wrong; depending upon the circumstances…or so we say. We busy ourselves with the task of tossing the life saving ring of moral absolutes, found in scripture, at the people drowning around us.

“It’s all so simple,” we tell them. If you want a life of blessing, live in obedience to the scriptures. We tell them that if they are experiencing anything outside the abundant life, their sin is most likely the cause.

Then we go home.

The trouble is, we can’t help but feel that we’re struggling to stay above water ourselves as ministers! We choke on the pressures of being in ministry. We’re tired of all of the unrealistic expectations dumped upon us by people and boards who don’t know what ministry is even about! We wonder, “how long will I be able to last like this?” We second guess our busy schedule. We go to meetings, small groups and events after some really scary thoughts about whether we should even in ministry. If we were honest about it…we might even look for a nearby life saver ring to grab onto ourselves. So we pray to God, asking for His strength, His guidance, His wisdom. Then we convince ourselves that ministry is just this way! And after all is said and done, we find ourselves in the same water we’re trying to rescue others from. We’re tired. We’re starting to get cold. We’ve been here a long time and to make matters worse, now it’s starting to get dark.

I would like to make a suggestion…grab on to this truth.

You may be drowning because you’re sinning. Today, your life may be less than the abundant life because you’re living in disobedience to God’s Holy Scriptures. Have you remembered the Sabbath day, to keep it holy? How can we, when there are so many needy people out there? So many meetings, Bible studies, sporting events, counseling opportunities and lesson/sermon preparation? The life of a minister of the Gospel is not an easy one! It wasn’t easy for Jesus…or for the disciples and all who were martyred for the cause. Are we using situations to make our behavior ethical?

Lifeguards don’t live in the water. Christ spent time in the water a lot. He got criticized for it. And it made Him tired too! There have been times when I could have slept through a hurricane on the Sea of Galilee too. But Jesus climbed out of the water to rest with great regularity. He observed a true Sabbath. But you and I live in an evangelical culture where there is no room for rest. When was the last time you heard a preacher’s pontification on how often we should take time out for rest and rejuvenation? This protestant work ethic environment we’ve created leaves no acceptable explanation for “time off. Imagine a day or evening spent enjoying non rushed prayer and meditation on a new or familiar thought from Scripture. The thought of wasting time by resting, or doing nothing but enjoying a hobby or a short trip away for replenishment is a bit out of the norm. The norm? Wait a minute…step back three big steps.

Think about it…when is righteousness the norm in today’s day and age? Not very often.

If we’re going to change the world in the power of Christ. ..ministering to those that God puts before us…it s going to require a radical life of Christlike obedience. For all of us, it’s time to bring the lost art of Sabbath back in to our lives as ministers!

It will be difficult. We will most likely be thought less of. We will need to fight off the tyranny of the urgent in order to observe the absolutely essential. We might even need to learn how to rest. It won’t be easy!

But what would life and ministry be like if God helped to teach us how?

Better, that’s what. Much, much better.

I am still in process of learning this…and it may be a life-long battle for me, but I am committed to the process…committed to my Lord…and I know that He is committed to me…to help move me into His sabbath rest…Praise God!

  1. Y. VAZQUEZ says:

    Always praying for those in ministry, even as I receive their message, first I thank God for what the message is and then I ask God to bless the messenger, and those he cares for.

  2. Doug ryan says:

    Gods is great!I checked my e-mail for the first time in awhile. God knew I rushed my prayer time this morning, because I was rushing to get my day started. So as I read your blog you can imagine how it struck me. I will now end my response in a much quicker manner than I would like to go spend more time withour awsome God. I'll pray for you, and meditaate on your words of wisdom. Grace & Peace Doug

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