As You Consider Your Place in the World…

earth_1_apollo17.gifEvery day, each one of us as Christ-followers steps into the world having been called to participate in the ministry of Jesus.  We meet challenges both within and without as we endeavor to be faithful to our calling.  One of the challenges that I face each day is not allowing the mundane, the boring, and the trivial things of life to cause me to think that my life really isn’t making a difference. 

When my thinking is straight, I realize that even these moments count for something when God is at work.  Yet, I may not see how they count.  I may never see the results of what God is doing in these moments.  

The following are some quotations from Norman Shawchurch and Robert Heuser in their book Leading the Congregation.  These quotes remind me of what really counts as I interact with others in this world.

Therein lies the secret of the easy yoke, according to Dallas Willard.  In order to effectively follow Jesus into public ministry, we must also follow Jesus into the lonely desert and mountains to be alone with God.  It is true that "a successful performance at a moment of crisis rests largely and essentially upon the depths of a self wisely and rigorously prepared in the totality of its being."  In other words, "We who are appointed by God to heal others, need the physician ourselves."  This necessary relationship between the leader’s private solitude and public ministry, according to Nouwen, can only be nourished "when we have met our Lord in the silent intimacy of our prayer" which will enable us also to "meet him in the camp, in the market, and in the town square.  But when we have not met him in the center of our hearts, we cannot expect to meet him in the busyness of our daily lives." (p. 42)

We serve a church that honors frenzied activity and long hours.  We are recognized and rewarded for our doing, and not for our being.  (p. 40)

"Ministry is service in the name of the Lord.  It is bringing the good news to the poor, proclaiming liberty to captives and new sight to the blind, setting the downtrodden free and announcing the Lord’s year of favor (Luke 4:18).  Spirituality is paying attention to the life of the Spirit in us; it is going out to the desert or up to the mountain to pray; it is standing before the Lord with open heart and open mind; it is crying out, ‘Abba, Father;’ it is contemplating the unspeakable beauty of our loving God."  Henri Nouwen (cited in Shawchuck and Heuser, Leading the Congregation, p. 39)

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