Monday, November 10, 2008

Ministry: It Does the Body Good

If it’s Monday, this must be time to think about “Godly Values which drive Good Decisions.” If you recall, in the past several weeks we have talked about the way I attempt to articulate and then implement my values for: Transformation, Integrity, Home, and Relationships. Today will be a straightforward one: “What is my value regarding Ministry.”

Ministry: I will pursue personal holiness for the purpose of building up the Body corporately and enhancing our spiritual lives together.

It has taken me awhile to articulate how I understand and approach my call to ministry. First, it’s not principally about what I do but rather about who I am (doing vs. being). I know that is almost a cliché these days…but if you think about it, “How can anyone survive in ministry if that is not your perspective?” Ministry is brutal; constant demands and an unrelenting schedule which will crush you if you are working on your own strength. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” (Zech 4:6). Even the pastor who has the best natural gifts for ministry will turn to another form of employment if “ministry” comes from any source other than a pursuit of God’s un-measurable grace.

Second, if you notice, I have framed my ministry within the context of the Body. Ministry is not to be understood as “me” but as “we.” I so love the Apostle Paul’s examples of Body-life in Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4

It was he [Christ] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

Simply, I cannot attain all that Christ has for me without you. Everything works this way in the Body. I need all God has for me; and often I find it in reciprocal ministry within the Body. In all ways, we are meant to strengthen one another. Even something as individualistic as “repentance” is in actuality a corporate act. Eugene Peterson has recently written, “In the biblical story, repentance cannot be narrowed down to something private, such as being sorry for your sins and ready to make amends. The call is to return to God and the ways of God with His people” (emphasis added). N.T. Wright has chimed in on this theme, “What must be abandoned in our understanding of repentance is the lonely post-Enlightenment individual bent on a quest for private salvation.” I do not pursue Christ for you; as if you are a customer. Rather, I abandon my rights and privileges with you. Together, we mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Help us to pursue You…in our pursuit of our call
Help us to see how we will gain spiritual vitality in and thru the Body.
May we never stand alone;
May we always stand united;
May others see this unity of faith
And may the on-lookers desire what we have; You.

Now, “Go with God.”

1 comment:

Nathan Crawford said...

Dave, I've tagged you in a Meme. Please see my blog to see what you are to do.