Yes, that’s seriously the title I’m gonna stick with.
As I write this I’m sitting in a bunk bed at a youth pastor’s retreat where I’ve been leading worship for the weekend. It’s been awesome so far as we’ve experienced some deep worship times and some excellent challenges from pastor and well known author, Mark Buchanan. The idea of this weekend is to allow these youth pastors and their spouses some time to be away and experience God together while enjoying some awesome community.
I have already been challenged in a big way.
This one word is rattling around in my head. I like it. It sounds like a nice word. When I hear it I think of positive things. I’m generally a laid back guy. If you know me you would say I’m much more type “B” than type “A”. But still, this word puzzles me. I don’t think I am very good at resting. I can unplug, I can unwind, I can sleep in, I can take a day off. But it takes a lot for my brain to rest. I feel the expectations, the deadlines, the amount of work all pressing in on me.
Here’s what has hit me this weekend. A few illustrations from Mark Buchanan.
- You know when someone comes to you and says, “I know you’re really busy so I’m really sorry to bother you with this…(fill in the blank)”. Do you take that as a compliment? “You’re darn right I’m busy! Thanks for noticing.” I mean what are you projecting if everyone thinks you’re so busy that whatever they’re coming to you with is going to be a massive burden to you? Think about that for a bit.
- And remember when you got into this ministry because you were so passionate about it? You were so fired up to change the world. You were fired up to make a difference. Do you still feel that way? What’s changed?
- having an affair = really bad
murdering someone = really bad
worshipping idols = really bad
not keeping the sabbath = not a big deal??? In fact, if your reason for not keeping the sabbath is “doing ministry” then you’re elevated to near saintly status. “Good for you!” they’ll say. …excuse me but what the what?!?!
Consider Paul’s words in Philippians 3
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more… v.4
Check me out. Look how hard I’m working. Look how much I’m getting done. Look at the impact I’m having on the kingdom. You should all be having as much impact as I’m having. You should try harder too. Paul had a long list of accomplishments in what to him at the time was ministry. He was misguided until he met Jesus, but then again, maybe we are too?
Paul follows this up with a dramatic statement.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,… v. 7-8
“Loss” in this case means “Crap”. It’s the greek word Skybala and it means street filth/dung.
Your 7 day ministry work week is crap
Your list of achievements in ministry is crap
Your work for the approval of others. Your desire to have your efforts noticed. It’s all crap
Compared to knowing Christ Jesus.
Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
The application part is up to you. I know I have some serious heart searching to do. I’m praying for you. I’m praying for this generation of leaders. If we can grasp this and apply it and make our first priority knowing Jesus through entering into the rest he has for us, then I believe amazing things will happen in the North American Church.