Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Gift of Ministry

2 Corinthians 4:1 Therefore, since it is by God's mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart.

In my morning reading, this verse jumped out at me for two reasons. First it fits well with the scripture for my sermon this coming Sunday, I Kings 19: 1 - 21. In this story of Elijah's wilderness experience, Elijah does indeed lose heart for his ministry - in the worst way. I wonder if Elijah failed or forgot to see his ministry of prophecy as a gift from God. I'll be honest there are parts of my ministry that I find tedious (things that don't involve people) and I don't always remember that it is by God's mercy that I am engaged in this ministry. It is a gift, and I need to treat it as such and engage in it with gratitude. Because, truthfully, I am many times blessed in my work and I am thankful.

However, I don't believe this passage speaks only to those of us whose occupation and vocation are in the church. We all have ministry to engage in where ever we are and whatever we are doing. This verse reminded me of Jimmy's (see post below) response when I thanked him for crawling under the building and fixing our leak. He said, "I'm glad to do it. How many people can say they get to work on God's house." Jimmy understood his ministry as a gift from God.

Lord, remind me often that all I am able to do is by your mercy and is a gift from you. Forgive me when I let fatigue or frustration make me lose heart. Amen.

Monday, March 21, 2011

What Not to Do or What to Not Do

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.
Lin Yutang

I stole the above quote from Joe Dan Boyd's facebook page. It struck home with me because yesterday and today I had this feeling that I really needed to do something about a situation that I really couldn't do anything about. Does that make sense?

There was a plumbing related problem at the church. No buildings were being harmed, but a great deal of water was accumulating in/on the ground. The main water had been turned off and it was arranged that a trustee with knowledge of this sort of thing would check it out this morning.

My plumbing knowledge could fit in a thimble. Never the less, I still felt I as the pastor OUGHT TO DO SOMETHING. Since there really wasn't anything I could do, I went home. I spent the evening fretting over what should be done. This morning I contemplated whether I should go up there, even still knowing there was nothing I could do and my being there wasn't going to change a darn thing except I'd have to go to the convenience store if I needed to use the facilities.

In the midst of this wrestling with myself, I found the quote, and was reminded that sometimes whatever it is that needs doing is still not mine to do. What I needed to do was wait and trust the gifts God had given those around me. What I needed to do was be patient (I wasn't) until I heard from the trustee and then be involved in making decisions if further action was needed. What I needed to do was recognize that it was only ego that made me think I had to be instrumental in solving this problem. What I needed to do was get out of the way!

The trustee went. The issue appears to have been resolved, and he's going to check on it later today just to be sure. Why on earth did I think this situation needed me?

Lord help me this day and this week and this life to know when I am called to act and when I am called to trust the gifts you have given others. Amen.

P.S. Thanks Jimmy!