Yesterday I was out running errands for my not-feeling-so-well family, and I ran into a friend who reminded me in a conversation of the passage in Ephesians where the “work of ministry” is discussed. He reminded me that everyday members of local families of believers are the ones really doing the “work of ministry” and that pastors and evangelists and the like are given to equip us for this work. Isn’t it easy to think of things the other way around? We fund those who are doing the work, right? No. We give our giving at church so pastors and church buildings can exist like sculptures on our shelves. We admire what we’ve paid to have and then go about our week.
Enough! We have to stop the madness. Pastors are shepherds of God’s flock. They are placed in their role to encourage us, build us up on God’s Word and Spirit, and send us out into the mission field of our community every week to get the real work of ministry done. “The ministry” is so quickly thought of as what the pastors and others are doing for us on Sunday morning or Wednesday evening. What they do for us is ministry, but the work of ministry extends and multiplies their efforts into our efforts and into the places in our week that will most minister to our families and neighbors in the decades to come.
It’s the less staged activities of the week that really prove where our hearts are investing week after week. I am far from criticizing the Sunday celebration of Christ and up-building of believers context. Instead of criticizing it, I’m praising that context as wonderful and key to our continued unity and growth, but I’m adding to that our opportunity to respond to the feedings we receive with an insatiable hunger for God’s Word every day in our private and public contexts. May we long for God to show up in our daily interactions and private meditations. May we run in God’s will for our lives, living out what He’s called us to in our homes and work places contexts. May we delight in Him so much that we can’t help but to rise with His praise on our lips, serve with His joy in our hearts and His compassion burning in our chests, and prepare for sleep each night with prayers of thanks and requests for all the more grace. This isn’t a “ministry” for us that is fake and dirty religion of pretenses. This is the only true religion that we are more passionate about than any of the false religions’ followers. Our zeal is an eternal one and our passion an imitation of Christ’s passion for us shown on the cross. We run in His grace and favor on our lives, looking to Christ, seeking His heart, enjoying His strength to grow in grace and show grace to the lost and found in our lives every week.
In His joy,
NOTE: Thanks again, Thomas Atkins, for your photos! Looking forward to a Fall camping trip as families!