10 May 2007

Guilt and calling

OK, so I sort of feel like the combination of a conversation I had last night, and a magazine article I read this morning, crystallized something I've been hearing buzzing in conversations for a little while now. It's a matter of opinion, not some prophetic insight, but here it is:

I'm not saying that a genuine calling to some kind of service might not be peppered with a dose of healthily convicted motivation - I can certainly predict with confidence that nothing I do will ever be free of that sort of thing. And certainly it's sometimes appropriate to enter into some relatively short-term service role that we don't relish but feel obligated to do, if it's a real need and there's nobody else to do it. (I would advise entering into these with a defined limited time-frame and only after much prayer.) And I'm certainly not saying that, in a life of following Jesus, we won't find ourselves in situations that suck mightily, and that we should follow our natural impulse to run away from situations like that - sorry to say, but I'm learning that extreme suckitude is part and parcel of following Jesus. Probably could have intuited that from a careful reading of the Gospels or Acts, but some things you need to learn for yourself, I guess.

But I am saying this: if you're in some kind of ongoing role that you might call ministry - service to God and/or your fellow talking monkeys (that is, beloved children of God made in God's image and likeness) - and you're doing it primarily out of a sense of guilt or obligation, then I humbly submit that now might be a good time to start being on the lookout for something else to do. That goes double if you're considering a new ministry, and have reason to suspect that this may be your chief motivation. Again, just my opinion, FWIW.

Note to CT folks: don't read too much into this. ;-)

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