Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ministry Without The Master

I am blessed(and often overwhelmed)to wear many different hats in the course of each day..... husband, father, friend, neighbor, servant leader, decision maker, bus driver, consultant, project manager, etc. just to name a few. There are days that I love my calling and days that I loathe it, but one thing remains true..... ministry without the Master is madness!

I wish I could say that the only reason I know what ministry without the Master is like is because of the last book I read or because I know somebody who knew somebody that tried it. I would love to be able to say of myself that I've never attempted to do God's work apart from His wisdom and power, but I've done plenty of "ministry" powered solely by my flesh.

In recent weeks, I've found myself once again struggling with burnout and fatigue. I've prayed, cried, searched His word, and tried with everything in me to "not become weary in well-doing" as Galations 6:9 says.

Interestingly enough, while studying Galations 6, more specifically verse 9 which says "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.", my eyes and heart were drawn up the page to what I consider a profound discovery and the prescription for not becoming weary in our work. In verses 7 & 8, we read "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life."

So what's the profound discovery for me? What's the secret to not becoming weary in our work? It's our daily choice..... which garden will we spend our time in today? Will we weed and fertilize the flesh in an effort to please our sinful nature or will we spend our time strategically tending to our Spirit man, doing everything possible to make our lives fertile ground in which God can grow His spirit in us?

There is a similar story found in John 15 that paints the picture a branch trying to be fruitful apart from the vine. We all know that dead branches don't bear any fruit don't we? Since that's true, what makes us think that we are the exception? Are we so arrogant or naive as to think that our dead branch is somehow different from that really dead dead branch that belongs to someone else. Have we decorated our dead branch with creativity, religion, or goodness in an effort to somehow outsmart the law of the harvest?

The revelation for me is that a branch that is bearing fruit is much harder to burn up than an old dead branch. I remember when we burned some underbrush here a Skipstone a couple of years ago. It was amazing to watch those roaring fires consume piles of dead debris that had accumulated for years. Equally amazing was witnessing those vibrant hardwoods still standing in the midst of the smoke and soot with hardly any evidence that the fire just roared by.

I think the key is tend to the Spirit man in such a way that my life is a vibrant branch that is yielding fruit and therefore less intimidated by the fire.

Ministry without the Master... trust me, it's MADNESS!

Whatever It Takes,

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