The Necessity of Ministry…and those who minister.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
18 If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves; But when they attend to what he reveals, they are most blessed. Proverbs 29:18 (MSG)
36 As he saw the crowds, his heart was filled with pity for them, because they were worried and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 So he said to his disciples, “The harvest is large, but there are few workers to gather it in. 38 Pray to the owner of the harvest that he will send out workers to gather in his harvest.” Matthew 9:36-38 (TEV)
914 How pitiful are those crowds—high and low and middle-class—without an ideal! They give the impression that they do not know they have souls: they are a flock, a drove, a herd. Jesus, only with the help of your merciful love will we turn the flock into a legion, the drove into an army, and from the herd of swine draw, purified, those who no longer wish to be unclean.
The coach of my favorite football team has two very simple and yet profound slogans.
The first is “do your job.” which helps keep focused each member of the team, from players to coaches, trainers, the owner, and even entry level office staff and custodians.
The second talks about the nature of the focus. “No days off.” That speaks of the team as something more than a job, working on that team is what theologians call a vocation. It is who you are, it is part of what defines them. These two catch-phrases have come with a fair share of success. Actually, according to some, far more than just a fair share.
These are lessons those in the church and who lead it need to understand. Our ministry is more than just a job. It is a vocation, it is what we’ve been sent to do, our apostolate, our mission. Because of the nature of what we do, it demands our focus, and it should define who we are.
It is critical, far more critical than winning trophies and wearing five rings.
We see this in words from the Old Testament, a passage often translated “where there is no vision, people perish” or sometimes “where there is no prophetic vision.” But the translator of the Message has its sense – for the vision is not of what we are called to do, but what God is doing. It is the vision of the promises God the Father has given to us, delivered in the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Lord who delivers us from evil. This isn’t just a vision for the church to grow, or build a new building, or raise money for this and/or that. It is the vision of God, gathering His people from every tribe and language, to live with Him. The vision of God being their God, and they being His holy people.
It is the vision that pastors, teachers, evangelists, prophets and apostles are to give them, what our worship is to cause them to be aware of. Which is where we come in, and where Jesus’ words about shepherds are so relevant.
People need those who are ministers in their lives, so that they might be drawn to God, and be given the vision of what God is doing in their lives. This is our job, primary and completely. It is the care these souls need, it is the mission that our sermons are tasked with, our Bible Studies, and why we baptize and commune people.
For without that, they are lost… they may not even realize what a soul is, never mind that theirs needs to be cared for, to have life spoken into it. It is only with God’s help that this is changed, only His Spirit can breathe life into them who are dead, trapped and imprisoned by sin.
This is what we do, and as we study, as we visit and teach, as we lead and inspire, may it be focused, every day, on Christ, and drawing people to Him.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 2126-2129). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.