My Father in Law, my Dad, and my Grandfather are all pastor's. God has given them an irrevocable call to preach and they have all obeyed fully. I am inspired, angered, touched, and tormented everytime I hear their stories. Some of the situations they have been in with people in the ministry make me question how they've kept their sanity, let alone stayed in the pastorate. I have only been in the ministry for a decade which seems very small compared to them. I have found that my joy can leak out like a broken air matress and I have no idea what might have caused it.
With the pressure of people looking at every angle of your life it isn't hard for anyone to find where you suck. Many times people in the ministry feel overwhelmed by the task at hand, under appreciated for the work that is being done, and having a feeling of total vulnerabilty. On top of that add potential problems with co-workers, fellow parishiners, and the high ranking dark spirits. I met with a friend for coffee last week who has impenetrable positivity. I am always intrigued by others who seem undaunted in task and relationship so I asked him how he keeps his joy in tact. He gave me a peice of advice to ponder while in formation. "Fake it till you make it." Sounds good and practical especially when doubled up with a tidbit I heard from John Maxwell this last week... "Belief is the lifter." Tonight I read a blog from the resurgence entitled Milestones to Maturity which allowed me to see another peice to the puzzle. The main point in part three of which I read tonight was gaining your own zeal. It is said of Titus that he followed Paul and Barnabus around helping out in anyway that was needed even menial tasks. Here is an excerpt:
Take a look at what Paul says of Titus: "But thanks be to God, who put into the heart of Titus the same earnest care I have for you. For he not only accepted our appeal, but being himself very earnest he is going to you of his own accord. As for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker for your benefit." (2 Corinthians 8:16-17, 23)
What a jump! Titus goes from being the tag-on servant-hearted guy to a leader in his own right whom Paul now speaks of as "my partner and fellow worker." How did this radical promotion happen? Answer: Titus gained his own zeal.
At Milestone 3 something clicks, and we develop zeal, enthusiasm, and initiative derived directly from God. We begin to do things not primarily because we are told to or asked to, but because God's zeal is welling up inside us and becoming our own zeal. The things that God and Paul were passionate about had now also become Titus' passion. He owned the mission for himself. At Milestone 3 our fire is stoked from within us by God more than by a "Paul" outside of us.
Not only is an unrelenting dependancy on God an absolute necessity but we must believe that our mission from God in the world is critical. As a grow in the Lord I am faced with the reality that my belief quotiant can be drained from a number of things. I won't try to name them but it is definitly enough to fill up a few pages.
I don't know how to end this entry any other way but to stop typing.. I will have to finish my thought later. Sorry if it seems a little scattered. I'm tired from driving back from Ohio.