Devotional: February 12th
The ministry is not a profession. It is not a job. It is not a business. The ministry is either who a person is or it is nothing at all. The functions of ministry, the needs of ministry, the demands of ministry; all combine to say live the life or don't live the life. There is a choice.
Every now and then something happens that makes this all come to light. There may be an elderly lady in a nursing home. The minister asks someone to go with him to visit the lady. The response? "Well, Preacher, I don't really enjoy going to nursing homes." Guess what? It's not on the top ten of my recreational pursuits either. Nursing homes are not visited because going to them is enjoyable. It's the people.
The minister may approach someone and ask them if they will go to a funeral home with him. "I don't think so, Rev. Funeral homes aren't my thing." So what is the minister? Some kind of ghoul who loves the dead and can't wait to be around them? Again, it's not the enjoyment of the situation. It's the people whose lives are impacted by the simple presence of someone who doesn't enjoy being there, but loves them.
Tough times come. People's lives get complicated. Difficulties force their way in. Problems sit down hard. None of this is enjoyable. But the people are important. Christ's entire ministry was a tribute to that fact. He lived and served others, not for the joy that it brought Him, but because the people are important. The ministry is the people. Jesus established this in His teaching about the "Good Shepherd."
"He who is a hireling...leaves the sheep and flees...because he is a hireling and does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know my sheep, and they know me...and I lay down my life for the sheep." John 10:12-15 It's the people. It's not the job, the vocation, the profession. It's the people. And the overriding sense of understanding that it's also the life of Christ being lived in technicolor. Jesus didn't enjoy the cross. But there were all these people. I know. I'm one of them.
Receive the newest devotional each week in your inbox by joining the "" subscription list. Enter your email address below, click "Go!" and we will send you a confirmation email. Follow the instructions in the email to confirm your addition to this list.