Ministry is easy

Ministry is easy, relationships are tough. I enjoy ministry. I enjoy ministering to people. I enjoy using the spiritual gifts God has given to me to bring freedom and healing to those who are hurting and in need. I used to think ministry would be tough because I would hear about pastors being burned out from counseling their congregation members, working on countless number of sermons, and constantly pouring out everything they had for the needs of others. But then I discovered that ministering in cooperation with Holy Spirit makes ministry easy. There is no striving when he is involved. There is no weariness when we allow him to empower the work we are doing. And there is no burn out when it is his energy flowing through us. We can be effective in ministry on our own. But we can only be supernaturally effective with his help. And then there’s the relational aspect of doing life with other people. That part is a little more difficult. We tend to sugarcoat our comments with our friends so we don’t hurt their feelings. And we tend to hold back on our opinions so we don’t inadvertently put a strain on a relationship. I was watching a movie this week and, in one of the scenes, one character was pointing out the other character’s faults and flaws after not saying anything to him about those flaws for many years. It was an impactful part of the story that led to the character making some changes in his life. And it made me think about why we tend to reserve our opinions until someone comes to a point where they need to be “set straight” and then we let them have it. That doesn’t feel very healthy to me. We need good relationships in life. We need people who have permission to speak into our lives, reveal our blind spots, and show us where corrections need to be made. There are lots of verses in the Bible about bringing correction to a fellow believer; Matt. 18:15-17, Gal. 6:1, 2 Tim. 3:16-16 are a few that come to mind. This is an important part of our walk with Christ. It’s easy to just minister and not pursue relationship with others because they we don’t have to ever be told about our own character flaws. But that would be very unhealthy. As you start out this new year, find someone you can trust enough to let them speak into your life in this way. You will be better for it. I know I will be intentionally reaching out to a few more people and giving them this explicit permission myself. Happy New Year!

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