Maintaining Your Passion in Ministry
One occupational hazard of ministry is that the work of God can become routine to us. Another sermon, another church member with a problem, another meeting, etc. All of it can accumulate, taking a toll on a pastor, and result in our simply going through the motions of ministry.
Even worse is when a spiritual numbness sets in and we find ourselves no longer thrilled with or excited about our relationship with Jesus. Like the Ephesians, we can work diligently and maintain good doctrine, but lose our first love in the process of conducting ministry. When this happens, we settle into status quo spirituality.
I recently read the following, and thought it made an excellent point:
In 1990 a woman entered a Haagen-Dazs in the Kansas City Plaza for an ice-cream cone. While she was ordering another customer entered the store. She placed her order, turned and found herself staring face to face with Paul Newman. He was in town filming Mr. and Mrs. Bridge. His blue eyes made her knees buckle. She finished paying and quickly walked out of the store with her heart still pounding.
Gaining her composure she suddenly realized she didn’t have her cone; she turned to go back in. At the door she met Paul Newman who was coming out. He said to her, “Are you looking for your ice-cream cone?” Unable to utter a word she nodded yes. “You put it in your purse with your change.”
When was the last time the presence of God made you forget what was going on around you? Made you forget the dishes? Made you forget the ball game? Made you forget the bank account? Made you forget where…you put your ice cream cone?
In reading Scripture, you may have noticed the frequent usage of such words as: awe, awesome, marvel, marvelous, amazed, astounded, splendor, majesty, etc. We can’t afford to lose our sense of awe toward Him!
Albert Einstein once said, “He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.”
I love the way the Phillips Translation renders 2 Thessalonians 1:10 as it addresses the coming of the Lord Jesus: But to those whom he has made holy, his coming will mean splendor unimaginable. It will be a breathtaking wonder to all who believe. I realize that none of us can comprehend the full impact of that now, but we should at least be walking in what the old hymn called a “foretaste of glory divine.”
My prayer for you is that you will walk in the fullness of what Paul said in Romans 12:11. The Amplified Version of this verse says, Never lag in zeal and in earnest endeavor; be aglow and burning with the Spirit, serving the Lord. The Message Version reads: Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master.
Passion in the Pulpit
“Preach as if you had seen heaven and its celestial inhabitants, and had hovered over the bottomless pit, and beheld the tortures, and heard the groans of the damned.”
– Frances Asbury
“I preach as though Christ was crucified yesterday; rose again from the dead today; and is coming back tomorrow.”
– Martin Luther
“I preach as never sure to preach again, And as a dying man to dying men.”
– Richard Baxter
John Wesley said, “Catch on fire with enthusiasm, and people will come for miles to watch you burn.” Wesley also said, “If I had three hundred men who feared nothing but God, hated nothing but sin, and were determined to know nothing among men but Jesus Christ and him crucified, I would set the world on fire.”
“Some people accuse us of too much emotionalism. I say we have too little. That is why we are losing church people to other interests. We need not only to capture their minds; we’ve got to touch their hearts. We’ve got to make people feel their faith.”
– Billy Graham