Breaking the Silence

Sorry that it has been far too long since my last post.  

Michelle and I returned home from an extended Christmas visit back to our hometown.  During the trip I had a discussion with one of Michelle's uncles who, upon learning that I am a vocational minister, asked "Are you doing it to make a living or because God called you?"

At first I was a little taken aback.  He went on to explain that he witnessed men in the past who had taken a professional approach to pastoral ministry without much concern for the spiritual well-being of the congregation, or unsaved people in general. So, he was just curious if I cared more for money and popularity, or more for people.  Talk about making someone seriously introspective!

That conversation has been on my mind ever since.  I believe the following excerpts from the prayer found in the first chapter of John Piper's Brothers, We Are Not Professionals is fitting as I (we) seek God's grace in protecting ourselves from the temptation of "professionalism":

God, give us tears for our sins. Forgive us for being shallow in prayer.... Cause us to hold to the cross with fear and trembling as our hope-filled and offensive tree of life. Grant us nothing, absolutely nothing, the way the world views it. May Christ be all in all. 

Banish professionalism from our midst, Oh God, and in its place put passionate prayer, poverty of spirit, hunger for God, rigorous study of holy things, white-hot devotion for Jesus Christ, utter indifference to all material gain, and unremitting labor to rescue the perishing, perfect the saints, and glorify our sovereign Lord. 

Humble us, O God, under Your mighty hand, and let us rise, not as professionals, but as witnesses and partakers of the sufferings of Christ. In His awesome name. Amen." 

I pray my account of this conversation will cause you to also take pause and do a heart check about your motivations for ministry.  May God grant you grace upon grace in 2009!

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