Friday, September 30, 2005

are we in ministry too busy?

i remember reading in the Elijah List last year that this would be a year of distractions.

hmmm.

i see so many distractions in the lives of those i counsel, especially those in full time ministry. i see them in the students at the Bible College. i see them in my own life. things are happening all around them (us) and if they (we) are not careful, the distractions exhaust and walking in the Spirit becomes even more difficult.

does anyone know what i mean?

when we are walking in the flesh (our mind, will, emotions and body according to a recent study of the hebrew and greek) we are being led by the flesh. but when we walk in the Spirit ...

Galatians 5:-17: This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would
i wonder how those without Christ keep their sanity sometimes. i just don't know what i would do if i could not snuggle up against the feet of Christ and receive the rest He gives.
even then, i realize that it is becoming a daily struggle to keep my peace when the trials of life, ministry, parenting, marriage, friendship, keep pounding against me and there seems a constant outflow of energy. i know the Lord is greater than anything i struggle with and He will give peace and strength when i press into Him.
that's the point i'm trying to make.
this is what He is showing me.
He is allowing all these things to cause me to press further and further into Him for my strength. not to my training, not to my flesh, not to other people ... but firmly into His strength, anointing, being. and oh, how the flesh screams! the flesh really does want to do it all.
think of the old testament circumcision. cutting off the flesh. hmmmmm. crucifying the flesh ...
Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
so the distractions, they are in the flesh. they are meant to expose how much we are still walking in the flesh. they are a good thing. actually, a gift from the Lord. after all, He is more interested in our growth toward Christ - who fought the flesh, and crucified it in a way that few if none of us will ever have to do. What an example. What a great God!

6 comments:

Lorna said...

a beautiful analogy comes from Scripture
*keep in step with the spirit*

imagine waltzing with somone you love. If you both try to lead. diaster. If you follow His lead and keep in His time - it will be beautiful and you will not be exhausted.

Lorna said...

meant to say yesterday,

are we in ministry too busy. in a word YES
why? partly I think it's pride and partly the pharisee in us - trying to earn God's favour. ouch ouch ouch

Carolyn said...

interesting perspective, lorna.

i've been thinking about this. i think it is my inability to say 'no' to the needs of other people out of my love for them and pastor's heart to serve them.

my pastor insists upon monday, wednesday, friday, and sunday presence at the church services. that is over and above my full time practice (which also is in the building) and my own ministry seminar which runs once a week, on top of teaching a college class another night a week. sigh.

that leaves no time at all for my family. and ... i believe it is contrary to Scripture. we are to put our families first. imagine walking through this journey on empty to begin with!?!

i know that Jesus anoints me to do my work because i feel it soooo much, but He doesn't seem to anoint me to fill up as much as He used to. i don't have the hours to study and research as i did while in school. i think that is my struggle.

before you tell me to drop something, i have prayed for this ad nauseum and He has not told me to drop anything ... just to pull closer to Him.

that's the issue. the distractions pull us away from time with Him.

Lorna said...

hi

it's good you said not to tell you to drop something or I would have

I think for each of us - men and women- our family should come before church attendance. Not before God but before job or church.

I've struggled with this for a long time, and hurt my family badly because I got it wrong for so long - but God in His grace helped me see it, and what's more turn it round.

I am still very active in church, but my family come first - hence our family sabbaths on Saturdays.

It is a very real danger for those of us active in church to lose sight of God in it - the warning to the church of Epheses (Rev 2:1-7) applies to us. We have (often) lost our first love - Jesus Christ.

If God has told you to continue as you are that's good, but He's also told you to pull closer to Him. The wisdom of how to do that also lies with Him, and I bless your journey

(sorry if this comment comes across as preachy - I know I'm talking out of my own woundedness - our pastor is now barely alive (he's 56) and for 30 years he neglected his family for his church. They are bitter and blame us - we should blame us too, we took advantage of his pastor's heart. That was our sin. He also made wrong choices, but that's between him and God.

But it's been a huge pause for thought for me.

Carolyn said...

my dear sister, you do not sound preachy at all! your heart is evident and it is precious.

i grieve for your pastor, and i see it alot. i counsel several who are burnt out ... thus this post.

you're right though. i have been after our senior pastor to put me on staff full time so i can let go of some of my outside work, but so many people are coming to the Lord through my Employee Assistance Plan work, (short term counselling paid through the workplace) i know the Lord will not close that door.

there are four pastors on staff part time at our church. (i am one, and the only one being paid part time salary when available) and we are all expected to put in these hours. it's tough not to be frustrated.

unfortunately, i have simply refused to be at friday night service unless i am the one preaching (about once a month or so). for wednesday night prayer, i'm only there for about 20 minutes of the 2 hours as i teach that night.

it's a tough road sometimes. if the people would tithe, this wouldn't be an issue, but that's another post.

ack, i sound preachy. hmmmm.

WES ELLIS said...

what a great post... thank you.