Monday, January 02, 2012

Back burner to us might be front burner to God

Jeremy Myers has a guest post on Will Rochow's blog, Rethinking Faith and Church, that is worth your time. His post, Back Burner Ministry, rings true for a lot of Christians I am guessing and for a lot of different reasons. Here is some of what Jeremy wrote:
Most followers of Jesus eventually feel like they have been "put on the back burner." I suspect Moses felt like this while he was tending sheep for 40 years in the desert. Most of the prophets felt this way when they did their best to speak the Word of God, and only got mocked, jeered, and imprisoned in return. I'm pretty sure Saul (Paul) felt this way also after his conversion when he spent 14 years in Tarsus.

Maybe you are in a similar situation. You are in the boondocks. In the sticks. You feel like you are a nobody.

Sometimes we think this is because God is punishing us, but this is usually not the case. Most often, God puts us in such situations so we can mature and prepare for the next stage of ministry God has for us.

I think we are all to one extent or another caught up in the performance/celebrity mentality. We think that God is mostly or specially working through the famous preachers like John Piper or the big name ministries like Samaritans Purse. What can I possibly be doing in my little corner of the world doing some insignificant work of ministry? Struggling and praying and laboring to build one measly orphanage in Haiti? Pshaw! Leave it to the big boys, they know what they are doing. Just pay, pray and stay out of the way!

I understand what Jeremy says because I sometimes (oftentimes?) feel that what I am doing in ministry seems awfully unimportant. No one is inviting me to speak at a conference and publishers are not competing for my next book and every time I post on my blog those two things become less likely! I also think Jeremy makes several important points. God works in mysterious ways but we also know that He works in upside-down ways. In the Kingdom doesn't it seem that the older sister faithfully praying over her prayer list at home is at least as crucial as the famous preacher intoning an eloquent and well thought out corporate prayer in front of an audience of thousands? Is the sister praying for and crying with a hurting young woman at a crisis pregnancy center not doing the work of God just as much as the president of a national pro-life organization on CNN? The brother who is visiting prisoners in some out of the way prison is doing God's will as much as Chuck Colson. We have let the world define what is or is not important in the Kingdom and that makes no sense at all. I am like so many others in seeing more and more that God is at work in the little ministries, in the one-on-one relationships, in the "hopeless" causes at least as much as he is in the ministries with the slick marketing campaigns looking for your donation at the end of the year.

In the Kingdom there are no unimportant ministries even if the church treats some like they are, even inadvertently. I believe God delights in the ministry of the weak, the foolish, the uneducated, the flawed, the unpolished, the shoe-string budget. If you are a Christian, He is using you and no matter how He uses you it is important to Him so it should be important to us. Thanks to Will and Jeremy for this important reminder to start the new year. I encourage every Christian to seek out ways to serve God by serving others this year. Don't wait for someone else to do it and for crying out loud don't wait for some other person to give you permission or deem you qualified!


Jeremy Myers said...

Thanks Arthur.

I laughed at your comment about how every post you write makes conference speaking and publishing less likely. I was just talking last night with my wife about that very thing.

We are masters at burning bridges!

Arthur Sido said...

Jeremy, very true but I like to think that for every bridge I burn behind me that leads back to religion and institutionalism, many more open in front of me leading to deeper relationships in Christ. There are so many people that I interact with and have formed a relationship with that I never would have back when I was safely cocooned in a Reformed, institutional setting where I only read the "right" blogs and books and listened to the "right" teachers.