I will be like my rabbi. This really is my desire, but I find myself staring in the mirror sometimes wondering how the gap between my life and what I read in the Gospels became so large. I still have much growing to do.
Being in ministry is an interesting mix of doing the work of the kingdom and managing an organization. Let’s be honest, that really isn’t so different from any other job. All of us are called to the same task, regardless of our vocation. But there is a deception in ministry that can lead me to believe I am doing the work of the kingdom while simply managing the organization. This is not true, and is very dangerous.
This Hellenism thing is a deceptive trap. Everyone wants to be successful, and I am no exception. Pursuing success is not evil, nor is it even bad.
Francis Chan said, “There is something worse than failure. It is succeeding at something that doesn't matter.”
Jesus spent time at marginalized edges of His society — with the “less thans” of His world. While the religious establishment was building a comfortable life for themselves, Jesus was busy bringing hope to those who had no voice, no hope, and no chance.
This truth keeps me reeling. I will try to be brief and to the point.
I am not trying to say “stick it to the establishment.” I still believe the Church is the bride of Christ. The Church is the place where those who are broken, helpless, and hopeless should be able to find hope, healing, freedom, and redemption. The Church should be a place that reframes the stories of brokenness into something that becomes beautiful.
The Church should be that place for those people.
The Church should look like Jesus. It is His body, after all, and the last time I checked, anyone with a body that doesn’t do what the head tells it has serious health issues.
It is not enough for me to manage an organization that addresses these issues as an organization. Pastors often complain they are shouldering an overly large part of the load of ministry. But I wonder if they are not guilty of the same thing when they sit in their offices while others in their church actually do the work. I am ashamed of myself and how easy it is for me to say I am making a difference when, in truth, I am watching others making the differences I celebrate.
Some of the questions I am wrestling with may be helpful or challenging for you, as well:
- Where do I actually interface with the marginalized people of my community?
- How is our church intentionally impacting “those people”?
- When was the last time I was a part of those moments?
- How are my children seeing my faith lived out?
And that last one is maybe the most convicting.
One last thought: Your children are not better off if they don’t see you live by faith. Go look like Jesus!